Merseyside abuse: Personal trainer is branded ‘a risk to women’ and jailed for nearly three years | Daily Mail Online

by fitness journalist

A personal trainer has been branded a ‘considerable risk to women’ and jailed for almost three years after repeatedly kicking his girlfriend and telling her ‘you need discipline’.

Michael Howe, 28, also failed to tell the Probation Service when he started dating his latest victim, who MailOnline has chosen not to name, at the end of May. He also chose not to tell her about his previous convictions.

Howe works for clients across Merseyside at JD Gyms in Widnes, where he claims his ‘ultimate focus is to transform and improve lives’.

But a judge yesterday said he was a serial abuser, who took out his anger on the women who had the ‘misfortune’ to date him. Judge Louise Brandon jailed him for two years and eight months.  

Howe, from Widnes, has 11 past convictions for 27 offences, including ‘numerous previous assaults on partners,’ Judge Brandon heard at Liverpool Crown Court.

Michael Howe (pictured), 28, works for clients across Merseyside at JD Gyms in Widnes, where he claims his ‘ultimate focus is to transform and improve lives’

On March 6 this year he received 12 weeks in prison, suspended for two years, for battery and criminal damage against an ex-girlfriend.

In the latest attack, Howe was at his girlfriend’s home in Widnes on June 9, at around 10pm, when he saw she had received a text message from an ex-partner.

Cecilia Pritchard, prosecuting, said Howe kicked his girlfriend twice – once in each leg – hard enough to make her fall to the floor.

He told her: ‘You need discipline. You’re spoilt. If you don’t have discipline you will never learn.’

Howe (pictured), from Widnes, has 11 past convictions for 27 offences, including ‘numerous previous assaults on partners,’ Judge Louise Brandon heard at Liverpool Crown Court

The court heard Howe pushed her on his way out of the property but, two days later, he struck at her home again.

At around 9pm he accused her of telling a friend that he was ‘insecure’, then dragged her off a sofa by both ankles.

He kicked her in the leg, causing a ‘dead leg’ and leaving a bruise, then called her a ‘slag’ and went upstairs to a bedroom.

Ms Pritchard said Howe told his victim: ‘You’ve got an attitude problem and it needs slapping out.’

She told him to go and went downstairs, where Howe picked up a keyboard and used it to hit her across the face, leaving a red mark.

The victim described feeling ‘pins and needles’ but Howe spat in her face, grabbed her throat and banged her head on a radiator.

Nick Cockrell, defending, said it appeared Howe (pictured) had not started a domestic violence course which was part of his last sentence because of lockdown

Howe then raised his hand as if to slap her, but stopped inches away from her face, before warning that he would kill anybody if they found out what he had done.

When arrested and interviewed, Howe denied any attack, but later admitted assault by beating, assault causing actual bodily harm and breaching his suspended sentence.

At an earlier hearing, the victim read a moving statement, in which she said the ordeal affected every aspect of her life, from her confidence and self-worth to her career.

Howe then cried on a video link as his victim described how she had to leave her home and went on to fail professional exams.

Ms Pritchard said Howe attacked his previous victim in January, just a month into their relationship.

She picked him up from a gym in Rainhill but he was abusive, claimed people were following him, then punched and kicked her car.

The next day he asked for a lift and when she refused said he had a blade and would cut himself, then caught a taxi to her home.

He called her a ‘c***’, shoved her over, tried to pick up her TV but couldn’t, and instead threw an armchair across the room.

The following day he threw car keys at her nose, which she had recently undergone surgery on, punched her car windscreen and threatened: ‘I will punch your head off.’

Nick Cockrell, defending, said it appeared Howe had not started a domestic violence course which was part of his last sentence because of lockdown.

Judge Brandon said: ‘He might have had some difficulty anyway, given he didn’t tell the Probation Service about his new relationship.’ 

Mr Cockrell said two character references spoke ‘very positively’ of Howe and that he was now mentoring other inmates.

However, he conceded there was also a ‘very different side’ to his client, which Howe knew he needed to address, as the abuser sobbed in the dock.

Judge Brandon told Howe his second attack, when the ‘violence increased considerably’, left his victim ‘absolutely terrified’.

He bowed his head as she recounted the ‘devastated’ victim’s statement, but Judge Brandon ordered: ‘Look at me Mr Howe.’

The judge said by hiding his past he took away the victim’s ability to make choices about her relationships, but the woman still wanted him to get help for his problems.

Judge Brandon said: ‘You do not deserve her compassion and her sympathy.’

She added: ‘You deliberately targeted her as your girlfriend, as the person to take out your anger and deep rooted problems on.’

The judge said by deceiving the Probation Service he ensured no steps could be taken to inform and protect his victim.

Judge Brandon said Mr Cockrell urged her to accept Howe was remorseful and beginning to realise he had a problem.

She said ‘that might have carried more weight if we hadn’t been here before’ – adding that he had been given chances to change previously and rejected them.

The judge told Howe: ‘You pose a considerable risk to women.’

Judge Brandon activated his suspended sentence in full as she jailed him for two years and eight months in total.

She imposed a five-year restraining order to protect his victim. 

This content was originally published here.

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