Diner boss ‘threatened to throw acid in face of ex-partner’
FORMER BOYFRIEND CONVICTED OF STALKING WOMAN AFTER THEIR BUSINESS COLLAPSED
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