Leyland domestic abuser held samurai sword to victim's throat and left her unconscious - now he is behind bars

A former teaching assistant who was throttled to the point of unconsciousness by a violent abuser has bravely spoken of her ordeal in a bid to encourage other victims of domestic violence to come forward.

Friday, 13th November 2020, 3:45 pm

Anthony Dewhurst, 38, of Yewlands Avenue, Leyland, is starting a 40 month jail term over controlling behaviour and a string of five sickening domestic abuse attacks, including holding a samurai sword to her throat, and attempting to strangle her.

Preston's Sessions House Court heard in addition to the violence, the controlling criminal locked her in her house, controlled her finances, used her bank card, pawned her phone and jewellery, checked her sanitary wear, gave her valium and isolated her from her family.

She felt unable to go to work due to her visible facial injuries, including her broken nose, and ended up losing her job at a school, leaving her with even less means of escaping his clutches.

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The woman's injuries

Today she said: " My world was turned upside down. I've contemplated taking my own life and am still jumpy in my house, or walking down the street.

"The school governors decided it would be best I didn't return because of the mental health impact this has had and so I lost my wage.

"I just thank God that I got out before the Covid lockdown started - the police warned me if I didn't leave him I'd be dead in six months."

She met Dewhurst at a mutual workplace - a small cleaning business - and the mum fell for him after he returned her trainers she'd accidentally left in his car on a job.

Anthony Dewhurst

But within a week the violence had started and she was so terrified, she felt unable to confide in anyone.

She explains: " I was shocked and scared - and the more he did things to me and left me with the physical injuries, the more I felt unable to go out. I felt I couldn't see my family or go to work. And if my family came round to see me he would tell them to go and say I was ill in bed.

"Now it seems everyone knew how he was apart from me.

"I felt absolutely trapped."

The woman's injuries

Her ordeal lasted for three months.

But eventually, after the last serious attack in March, she gained strength from the idea of going to court and encouraging other victims in her position to come forward.

She added: " I want to encourage them to get out - you've got to be brave."

Prosecuting, David Traynor told the court: "He kept telling her she was worthless, took over control of her social media accounts, called her names.

The woman's black eye

"Around midnight on December 29, 2019 they were in her bedroom when he became paranoid and accused her of setting him up. She didn't understand.

"He headbutted her to the lip and in her words smacked her head open.

"He held a samurai sword to her neck and cut himself with the same. He then rang the police and accused her of locking him in the house and forcing himself to barricade himself in the room."

The woman began to take pictures of her injuries and sent them to a friend to keep a record, but was terrified to leave.

In January he again headbutted her, breaking her nose and after she had to take time off work he remarked: "I will have to break your nose again so you can stay off properly."

The mum rarely went out without him as he would say: 'Why do you need to go without me - it's only me who cares about you and will protect you.In February, Dewhurst grabbed her by the throat after he threatened her former partner with the samurai and threatened to 'gouge his eyes out'.

When her friend called the police he started crying and calling her a 'grass.

Between March 5 and 6 Dewhurst was arrested for a driving offence and when he returned from police custody he bit her on the arm.

On March 7 she started packing his belongings and he throttled her until she lost consciousness.

Mr Traynor added: " She woke up on the bedroom floor and said to him: 'What the hell have you just done?"

"He responded by punching her to the eye and bit her cheek.

"That evening he made her get dressed and leave the house with him. They went into a pub before getting a taxi to the New Hall Lane area of Preston. The defendant went to several flats to try to buy heroin and crack. The places he took her too were not nice and she was terrified."

She tried to seek help at a taxi office, which rang the police. Officers took her home.

Dewhurst arrived back but as she wouldn't make a complaint and there was no evidence of the bite the police left.

The court heard the next day, she continued packing Dewhurst's things and he " was alternating between threatening to kill her and breaking down in tears."

He grabbed her by the throat and pinned her against the wall.

Defending, Joe Boyd said Dewhurst was "disgusted with his behaviour" and said such behaviour had "never happened before and would never happen again".

Judge Simon Newell said: "I don't think one can necessarily measure controlling and coercive behaviour, which incorporates physical assaults, just by looking at a checklist of injuries. It seems to me the harm caused is not just in terms of black eyes, bust lips and broken bones, but in the terror and the psychological harm that occurred over those three months."

If you are affected by this story call police on 101 or Preston Domestic Violence Services (PDVS) on 01772 201601.

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