A MAN branded as “very dangerous” who dragged his ex-partner by the feet to his father’s grave – then threatened to kill her – failed to overturn his potentially lifelong sentence on appeal.
Father of two Philip Joseph Heathcote, 27, of Leeds Road, Bradley, Huddersfield, was sentenced to indefinite imprisonment for public protection at Bradford Crown Court in March last year.
The open-ended sentence, almost identical to a life term, means he will not be freed until he can convince the Parole Board the danger he poses to society has passed.
He must serve at least three years before he can even ask to be released.
London’s Criminal Appeal Court heard today that Heathcote went to his ex-partner's house in January last year following his father’s funeral.
He banged on Natasha Brookes’ door, and when she did not answer, broke a pane of glass to get inside. Miss Brookes came downstairs, and a struggle between the pair ensued.
She tried to escape, but Heathcote grabbed her, then dragged her by her feet to his father’s grave nearby, telling her he was going to kill her.
A neighbour alerted police to the incident and, when they arrived, they found Heathcote with his arm around Miss Brookes’ neck.
At Bradford Crown Court, Heathcote was convicted of burglary with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm and threatening to kill. He admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm and damaging property.
Mr Justice Field, sitting at the Appeal Court with Lord Justice Pill and Mr Justice Bennett, told the court Heathcote had a number of violence-related convictions.
He said the injuries sustained by Miss Brookes were not serious, but could have been worse had police not intervened.
Heathcote’s lawyers argued the indefinite sentence was unjustified.
However, refusing the appeal, Mr Justice Field said: “The Recorder was plainly entitled to form the view that Heathcote was a very dangerous man.”