Controlling Wigan dad jailed after terrifying attack

Craig Shelley
Craig Shelley

A Wigan man who bundled his ex-girlfriend into the back of a car, threatened her with a knife and squeezed her throat with his hands until she struggled to breathe has been jailed for three years.

Craig Shelley, of Tower Hill in Upholland, was locked up yesterday after a hearing at Bolton Crown Court which revealed horrific details of his attack against the mother of his child.

The 30-year-old appeared alongside his friend, John Dingsdale, 40, who walked free from court after admitting to assisting an offender by driving the car in which the assault took place back in September 2017.

Judge Timothy Stead heard how the “controlling” dad-of-one had forced his way into the home of his former partner after finding out that she had been out in Wigan the night before.

Shelley, who was subject to a restraining order against his victim at the time due to a previous conviction of sending threatening messages, demanded to know where she had been and what she had been doing the previous evening.

The court heard how he had scoured her phone saying “we are going to get to the bottom of this” before dragging her into the back of a waiting vehicle driven by someone she knew as “Archie”.

“He shut the door and locked it”, said Daniel Calder, prosecuting. “He took a Stanley knife out and said ‘watch what I do’ and put it to her throat.

“He drove around the Orrell area, she was resisting and screaming. He continued to tell her how he didn’t want her on social media.”

The court heard how, during the course of the journey, at least two other men got into the car with them.

At one point, the victim was so terrified that she attempted to climb out of the half-open window while the car was stopped at traffic lights.

The terrified woman was then pushed into the foot well, where Shelley pinned her down saying “stay down and do as you’re told.”

Mr Calder added: “The car pulled into the Marsh Green estate and Craig Shelley got out. She saw her chance to escape and ran away from the vehicle until she saw a passing police car and flagged it down.”

The court also heard how, before his intended trial, Shelley had contacted his victim threatening to “commit suicide” if she did not drop the charges against him. Unbeknownst to him, the woman recorded the conversation which she then presented to police, who charged him with intimidation of a witness.

Judge Stead sentenced Shelley to 28 months in prison for the assault, and nine months consecutively for breaking the restraining order placed on him by magistrates in September 2016.

He was also sentenced to eight months for threatening his ex-partner as prosecution witness.

“It seems you purpose was wanting to know where she was and what she had been doing,” said the judge. “Putting it simply there’s a good deal of evidence of controlling or coercive behaviour what you were doing was treating her as your property to command as you saw fit.

“Through jealousy or a desire to control her the fact is you began by making her life wretched by your demands, which you were not entitled to make.

“She has clearly been affected by the bad things you have done and said.”

Dingsdale, of Hawthorne Avenue in Ashton, was given a 12-month community order which includes 60 hours of unpaid work.

He pleaded guilty to the offence but told prosecutors that he was not aware of what was going to happen when he pulled the car up to the victim’s house.