A DOMESTIC abuser from Winsford told his ex-girlfriend he’d poison her dog with chocolate if she left it alone with him in the house.

Anthony Houston, of Delaisy Way, also threw a coaster and a water bottle at her, and raised his fists and shoved her into a table, when their relationship finally broke down in May 2023. 

His ex described the 39-year-old as ‘emotionally manipulative’ and ‘distant’ from December 2022 onwards, after he started a new job and suffered bouts of depression.

He would complain he didn’t get to see enough of his two children from a previous marriage, but would spend all his free time playing on his Xbox with friends.

When she raised this with him in February 2023, he grabbed her by the wrist and twisted it – described in court as ‘a Chinese burn’ - causing her pain.

He later appeared sorry, and sent her a text saying, ‘I saw the last bit of love you had for me disappear last night’, but his behaviour didn’t change.  

He would also tell her she and her young son, who saw him as a father figure, weren’t welcome in his home anymore, then would later change his mind.

When she told him in May last year she ‘couldn’t go on anymore’, he pushed her twice from behind, causing her to land first on a table, then on the sofa.

When she and her son finally moved out of his house, she reported him to the police, and he was charged with one count of common assault and two of assault by beating.

He admitted grabbing her by the wrist in February 2023, but denied causing her any other physical harm.

However, on December 11, 2023, the day he was due to stand trial, he changed his pleas to guilty.

Houston appeared at Warrington Magistrates’ Court for sentencing on Friday, January 12.

Defending, Tony Birchall said Houston and his ex ‘just didn’t get on’, adding: “There’re always two sides to every story.

“Mr Houston’s view is that she was very controlling, and the relationship had become very difficult.”

Mr Birchall added his client has never been accused of domestic violence before, including in a previous 10-year marriage, and in two later, shorter relationships.

He also explained Houston has no previous convictions, cautions, or police call-outs, and works full-time in a responsible job.

In view of this, he asked the court to consider dealing with him by way of a fine.

Passing sentence, lead magistrate, Stephen Storey, said: “Domestic abuse is treated very seriously by this court in whatever shape or form it may take."

Houston was sentenced to an 18-month community order, to include the Building Better Relationships programme, and up to 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

He was also ordered to pay a £519 fine, £350 court costs, and a £114 victim surcharge.

Magistrates also issued a restraining order, banning him from contacting his ex for three years, and from putting up pictures of her and her son on any of his social media accounts.