Man sentenced for domestic abuse cases

A man on the verge of becoming what a magistrate described as “a serial woman abuser” was imprisoned Friday for assaulting two women.

Matthew Anthony Whittaker appeared before the Summary Court to be sentenced for common assault, inflicting grievous bodily harm, threats to kill, possession of cocaine and consumption of cocaine.

Whittaker initially denied the charges but later pleaded guilty on 15 Nov., which was 16 months after the incidents.

In the first matter, Whittaker was arguing with his then-girlfriend and drove her to the back of a parking lot where he slapped her repeatedly in the face, causing swelling and bruising, the court heard. The following day, during another argument, Whittaker pinned her to the ground by placing his foot on her neck.

“The victim has expressed that a majority of these attacks took place in her home, which is a place where no one should feel threatened. One of the attacks also took place in a location where no one could hear cries for help,” said Magistrate Valdis Foldats while reading from a victim impact report.

He imposed a five-month sentence for the first assault on the woman and seven weeks for the second.

Foldats then turned his attention to the assault on the second woman, saying it had occurred some months later, when Whittaker had started a new relationship. He and his then-girlfriend had been driving to Rum Point to pick up some friends. While they were driving, the woman got a call from a co-worker asking her to pick him up. Whittaker was said to have flown into a fit of rage and begun slapping and punching the woman in her face. He then pulled over the car to continue beating her.

The court heard that when he was finished, the woman was soaked in her own blood, which was also splattered on the dashboard and throughout the car. This incident occurred while Whittaker was out on bail for assaulting his previous girlfriend.

“There is no medical evidence submitted in this file, and none is needed, in light of the photos,” said Foldats. “I have seen the before and after pictures, and the difference is shocking. The woman is unrecognisable.”

The magistrate told Whittaker, “You have no respect for police, no respect for court orders, and no respect for women. It’s clear you are in danger of becoming a serial abuser of women. It must be stopped now.”

Foldats imposed 12 months for each charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm and assault causing actual bodily harm, to run consecutively. For possession of cocaine, he sentenced Whittaker to two months, to run consecutive to the other sentences. He also imposed a one-month sentence for consumption of cocaine, to run concurrently.

Whittaker also faced charges of threats to kill, relating to a verbal confrontation between him and police, for which he was also sentenced.

In total, he received a sentence of 29 months, taking into account his time spent in custody and his late guilty plea.