Obsessed ex threatened to kill

Burnley Magistrates' Court.
Burnley Magistrates' Court.

A Burnley mum was terrorised by her “obsessed” ex, who pressed a knife against her throat and told her: “You always thought you were going to die, well you are.”

The town’s magistrates' court was told how mechanic Joe Pitman (23) who was banned from Burnley under an exclusion order, had turned up at Rachel Yates’ Dale Close home in the town, locked both doors so she could not escape and taken the phone off her.

Prosecutor Mrs Alex Mann told the hearing: “It seems to have got to a situation in the house when he wasn’t in control of what he was doing. That’s when he got the knife. Its a concern what he night do next and there is a real risk to the family. She is frightened of what he is capable of.”

The court was told Pitman had assaulted Ms Yates’ brother Andrew Mitchell when he went to her aid on an earlier occasion and “ recklessly” pushed over a young child during the second incident as he tried to stop Ms Yates from escaping.

Pitman, who, a judge was told, has been making threats to end his life, is said to have become angry and turned to cannabis after the death of his mother in August last year. He and Ms Yates, who had been together for several years, split up in March.

Pitman, of London, admitted threatening to kill Ms Yates, assaulting her, assaulting the child and using violence to secure entry into her home, on September 11th and assaulting Mr Mitchell on September 2nd. Deputy District Judge Huw Edwards committed him in custody to be sentenced at Burnley Crown Court on October 14th.

Prosecutor Mrs Alex Mann told the court Pitman had previous convictions related to the same victim.

She said a restraining order was not imposed after earlier offences against the victim. Mrs Mann continued: “If the defendant stayed away from this lady and did not text her, we would have no concerns.

“He doesn’t commit offences against anybody else. He had no record until his mother passed away and the relationship broke down and I think it broke down because of problems he was having.”

Deanne McGinty, for Pitman, said he had entered early guilty pleas and shown quite significant remorse.

She told the hearing: “It seems to have dawned on this gentlemen how obsessed he has become and how he has not been able to manage and have control over his anger issues.

“It seems he’s got some anger issues stemming from his mother passing away in August last year. He started to use cannabis and took it out on the victim. He is utterly ashamed of his actions.”

Miss McGinty said: “They are very serious offences. Clearly, the defendant is in a precarious position. He is very fearful of being remanded in custody."

The solicitor said she believed the defendant and victim had been on holiday to Spain in August. Miss McGinty went on: “When she got back, she seems to have changed her mind. The defendant says she has been in a relationship with somebody else and that’s why he has lost it.

“It seems to have hit him being in the cells and he doesn’t like it one bit. He accepts this relationship is over. He has to let go. I think the risk of harm to himself would be much higher if he was in custody.

“I believe he has been making threats to end his life in respect of being remanded in custody. He’s very upset.”