A YORK businessman with a “Jekyll and Hyde character” has been jailed after a court heard he seriously abused two girlfriends he met on Facebook.
Keith Turner, 43, of Green Lane in Acomb , physically and mentally abused the two women in a series of humiliating and frightening incidents including spitting in their faces, strewing one victim’s shredded clothes in the road, posting a fictional profile on an adult website so that men turned up at one victim’s home, expecting sexual favours.
He smashed one victim’s laptop and destroyed both of their phones.
On other occasions, Turner drove in a frightening manner, terrifying his victim, and scratched the other’s car with his keys.
Hull Crown Court heard Turner, the owner of VW Relics Ltd in Elvington , became controlling and obsessively jealous about the victims’ former partners soon after starting to see the women, who he met online through a shared interest in cars.
The women finally took out harassment orders against Turner and later realised he had targeted them both when they met through a counselling website for the victims of domestic violence and realised they had received identical, lengthy letters of apology.
Turner was jailed for 16 months after pleading guilty to two counts of causing a person to fear of violence by harassment.
The court was told the first victim – a 44-year-old woman from Market Weighton – was in a relationship with Turner for about ten months between November 2010 and August 2011.
His Honour Judge Baker QC said: “As that relationship developed, it’s apparent that you had a somewhat Jeckyll and Hyde character because soon thereafter, from about January 2011 onwards you subjected her to distressing, damaging, socially isolating, humiliating and, frankly, violent acts.”
He began seeing the second victim – a 46-year-old woman from York – for two months from September 2011.
Sentencing Turner, Judge Baker said the perpetrators of domestic violence often had “two personae” – one seen by the outside world and another darker side only seen by their partners. He said: “That’s clearly the situation in this case. You repeatedly apologised for your actions and went on to repeat the same or worse offending to these victims.”
He noted that Turner had seven previous convictions including for common assault, actual bodily harm, and battery.
Steven Crossley, speaking in mitigation for Turner, said his client had asked him to apologise to the court and his victims for his behaviour.
He said he had been undergoing a course to address his behaviour as well as taking up meditation.
However, despite taking these efforts into account, Judge Baker said: “These matters involve some degree of physical violence. The victims have altered their lifestyles to avoid contact with yourself. They have been left feeling anxious.
“In my opinion the case is so serious that it’s right that you are punished for this case by way of a term of immediate imprisonment.”
Incidents inflicted on his victims included:
• Turner told her he had spent four years in Hull Prison for pouring petrol over someone – although the court could find no evidence of this
• Became “unnaturally jealous” when the couple were at a motoring event at Donnington Park. When she called for help on her phone from the ladies toilets, he stormed in and destroyed her phone
• Picked up a metal rod giving the impression he would hit her
• Undid her seatbelt in his Lamborghini while driving and slammed on the brakes
• Held a seatbelt over her throat while driving and punched her, then threatened to strangle her, bruised her, smashed her phone and ripped open her clothing
• Humiliated her while shopping, asking a shop assistant for a brush so she could sweep the floor and dropping his wallet on the floor so she had to pick it up
• Spat in her face on multiple occasions
• Made her cry by jabbing her in the arms with his car keys. Pushed her in a car saying “you won’t disrespect me again”
• Made her get out of the car while they were travelling from Pocklington to Market Weighton and drove the car alongside her, stopping a couple of times and urging her to get in the car. Turner snatched her phone from her and ripped her dress when she refused to get in
• Shredded her clothes and scattered them along the roadside
• Posted her details on a dating website and wrote to her employer
• Smashed her laptop and phone and called her “a slag and a whore”
• Went to the home she shared with her 18-year-old daughter where he claimed he had a crossbow in the boot of his car
• Scratched her car with his keys
• Viewed white supremacist websites in front of her
• Spat in her face and pushed her around
• When she was wearing a towel, he insulted her appearance. He tried to grab the towel off her and take photos, saying he would post them on a dating website. He kicked her in the calf and verbally abused her
• Made a profile for her on an adult website asking men – some of whom attended her house - to contact her for sexual favours