Diner boss ‘threat­ened to throw acid in face of ex-part­ner’

FOR­MER BOYFRIEND CON­VICTED OF STALK­ING WOMAN AFTER THEIR BUSI­NESS COL­LAPSED

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By ASHLIE BAKER and TODD FITZGER­ALD news­[email protected] @MENnews­desk

A COM­PANY di­rec­tor threat­ened to throw acid in his ex-girl­friend’s face dur­ing a stalk­ing cam­paign after he blamed her for the col­lapse of their Amer­i­can-themed dessert bar, a court heard.

Travis Hol­ness, 30, be­gan ha­rass­ing the woman after they split up and he was left with debts of £30,000 due to the clo­sure of their pan­cake and milk­shake eatery fol­low­ing just four months of trad­ing.

Over a pe­riod of at least a month, Hol­ness bom­barded his for­mer part­ner with un­wanted phone calls, in which she said he threat­ened to dis­fig­ure her with cor­ro­sive liq­uid, Manch­ester Mag­is­trates’ Court was told.

He also turned up at a trendy hair sa­lon, where she was worked as a re­cep­tion­ist, shout­ing: ‘You set me up. I’ll kick your head in.’

On an­other oc­ca­sion, the woman, from Cheshire, was driv­ing home with her mother when Hol­ness, thought to have been fol­low­ing her in her Mercedes, used his car to block her in then tried to get her keys from her.

He was ar­rested after the woman lost her job at the sa­lon and went to po­lice to re­port him twice in two days – also ask­ing for a re­strain­ing order.

Hol­ness, from Prest­wich, was con­victed of stalk­ing be­tween May and June last year after a trial by mag­is­trates.

The court heard the cou­ple, who had been to­gether for two years, opened Su­garBee in Hand­forth in Oc­to­ber 2017 after Hol­ness got a £25,000 busi­ness loan and bor­rowed a fur­ther £6,000 from a fam­ily mem­ber for fix­tures and fit­tings.

The cou­ple split up the fol­low­ing month and the busi­ness closed in Jan­uary last year. Hol­ness’ for­mer girl­friend told mag­is­trates: “I had the idea of open­ing a busi­ness to­gether, he said it would sound good and would be some­thing to work on.

“At the start it was all un­der Travis’ name and even­tu­ally he added my name as a di­rec­tor, but I took my name off it.

“At the start it wasn’t a nice premises, but Travis put a lot of hard work into it to make it what it was.

“He han­dled get­ting peo­ple in and all the money in­vested into the busi­ness came from Travis.

“It was go­ing well in the first few weeks and had po­ten­tial, but the busi­ness stopped be­cause Travis couldn’t pay and in Jan­uary last year it closed – it was his responsibility.’’

She said she was later work­ing at a hair sa­lon when Hol­ness parked up out­side in his black Mercedes and was seen pac­ing up and down.

The woman added: “He got out the car and he came in and started talk­ing re­ally ag­gres­sively. He was say­ing ‘check her phone, she’s setting me up.’

“I haven’t got a clue what he meant by that. My man­ager told me to go round the back. I was back­ing off be­cause I was scared.

“Later, I was tak­ing my mum home when we drove past each other on the main road.

“I’ve gone into my es­tate and he must have gone the op­po­site way round, he’s come driv­ing quite fast be­hind me and cut me off and blocked me in. He tried to get in the car and take the keys off me.

“He used to threaten to come to my mum’s house and he left abu­sive phone calls. “He said he’d come and kick the doors off, he rang the sa­lon twice. He phoned me while I was at work and he said he was go­ing to come and throw acid in my face. “I was just try­ing to be civil and the last thing I wanted was for him to get an­gry or lose his tem­per. “There was a time when he rang my phone 48 times. I know [a fam­ily mem­ber] loaned him some money for the busi­ness, but he made me lose my job at the sa­lon be­cause I was caus­ing dan­ger to other mem­bers of staff. “He rang off un­known phones quite a few times be­cause he knew I wouldn’t an­swer to his num­ber.”

Hol­ness de­nied wrong­do­ing and said: “She’s made these al­le­ga­tions be­cause of the debt. It doesn’t ben­e­fit me to get an­gry against some­one who I need to sup­port me.

“She al­ways called me and was cry­ing down the phone ask­ing if we could get back to­gether. I know legally she doesn’t owe me any­thing. “All of this is a con­coc­tion.’’ Pros­e­cu­tor Mark Pritchard said: “This was a tale of a man en­gag­ing in a cam­paign against his ex-part­ner of ha­rass­ment that amounts to stalk­ing.

“Even if this was all about busi­ness money, that is not a de­fence. He said there was a moral obli­ga­tion, but you can’t bring that to the court.

“She never agreed to pay to­wards the busi­ness and never said she would.’’

Hol­ness will be sen­tenced later this month.

Travis Hol­ness was con­victed of stalk­ing his ex-girl­friend

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