A 32-year-old man who took his frightened girlfriend on a terrifying three-hour road trip against her will was tracked down by a ‘find my phone’ app, a court heard.
David Williamson had taken his belongings from Shanice Ingham’s home after they had a row and the next day he began bombarding her with texts and phone calls.
She was planning to go for a meal with her friend, Ellie Atherton, that night and they were going to Amsterdam for the weekend, said Zia Chaudhry, prosecuting.
But early that evening, after threatening to turn up at the restaurant and smash the window, she agreed to meet him at the Wigan home of her friend’s mum and 15 minutes later he turned up in a Nissan Navarro.
She spoke to him through the open passenger door and he asked if she had slept with a man, who she did not even know.
He threatened to damage her car and Ellie’s vehicle if she did not get in his car so she got in.
He immediately drove off at an “aggressive” speed and began abusing her and emptied a bottle of Vimto over her clothing.
“He spat in her face as they were driving along and while approaching a queue of cars at pedestrian lights by Wigan Infirmary, although the lights were on red, he drove onto the wrong side of the road and through the red lights,” said Mr Chaudhry.
“He also went through another set of red lights forcing a car to take evasive action. She kept asking him to stop but he said he was going to take her to London and drove onto the M6. He said he was going to make her miss her flight.”
Meanwhile the victim’s sister, Deanna, and Ellie had tried to follow the car but could not keep up and when they got through to her on her mobile phone 22-year-old Shanice was “crying hysterically”.
They repeatedly kept ringing her and on one occasion Williamson answered and said he was going to bring her back.
But when they rang back the phone was switched off and fearing the worst they used the ‘find my iPhone’ app and discovered her phone was in the car heading south on the M6 near Knutsford and they called the police.
“The defendant had told Shanice he would drive until the car ran out of petrol and he still had 300 miles left,” said Mr Chaudhry.
“At 8.30pm police found the car near Corley services on the M6 in Warwickshire and managed to stop it.”
He was detained and she was found shaking and crying.”
When interviewed Williamson claimed she had got into the car of her own free will.
He denied that she had been distressed and said that he had been about to turn round and take her home.
He claimed going through the red traffic lights had been an accident, as had spilling the drink.
Williamson, formerly of Horwich, pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and careless driving.
He was sentenced to ten months imprisonment suspended for 18 months and ordered to carry out 150 hours unpaid work.
He had four penalty points added to his driving licence and has to carry out 20 days rehabilitation with the probation service.
Kyra Badman, defending, said that Williamson, of The Green, Eccleston, Chorley, has spent a month in custody and then been on a curfew with a tag since the offences.
Ms Ingham had turned up at his mother’s home while he was on bail and he had to hide as conditions of his bail banned him from being in contact with her.
“She makes it clear she wants to pursue a relationship with him,” she said.
Williamson started his own business last October and it has been going well and he is “extremely proud of it,” said Miss Badman.
Sentencing him the judge, Recorder Anthony Long, said that he had decided by a “narrow margin” to suspend a prison sentence on him “to give you a chance to get on with your life and carry on building up your business”.
He continued, “You probably don’t know why on earth you did it. I’ll treat it as a one off.”
Recorder Long said that the incident had obviously been motivated by jealousy and he has an underlying manipulative nature.