Man who ‘identifies’ as The Joker from Batman accused of trying to kill ex-girlfriend who he called 'his Harley Quinn'

30 May 2024, 14:32 | Updated: 30 May 2024, 14:34

Heath Ledger in the Dark Knight, 2008
Heath Ledger in the Dark Knight, 2008. Picture: Alamy

By Christian Oliver

A man who 'identifies as The Joker' from Batman attempted to kill his ex-girlfriend by strangling her after she twice rejected him, a court has heard.

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Anthony Yewman, 45, of Romford, Essex, was "obsessed" with Jenny Dalton, whom he called "his Harley Quinn", Southampton Crown Court heard.

Yewman is accused of attempted murder and alternative charges of attempted GBH and intentional strangulation.

Prosecutor Matthew Farmer said the two had a "difficult" on-off relationship over two years and Yewman became "increasingly obsessed" with Ms Dalton.

"He referred to himself as The Joker, that is The Joker from Batman, he identified as The Joker, and he calls her his Harley Quinn," he told the court.

"Some of you may know, there is The Joker, the arch-nemesis of Batman and there is his sometime girlfriend Harley Quinn."

Southampton Courts of Justice, on London Road, Southampton
Southampton Courts of Justice, on London Road, Southampton. Picture: Alamy

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The prosecutor said Yewman had "stalked" Ms Dalton after their relationship broke down.

He said Yewman spent a number of days "camping out" in her garden and refused to leave until she called the police and he was arrested.

On a separate occasion the two had an argument and Yewman sprayed her garden wall with the words: "I am sorry, I love you, you are my soulmate", and: "Met my soulmate when met you".

"He became more and more obsessed about her, she describes significant controlling behaviour by him and his stalking was such that she couldn't get away from him," Mr Farmer said.

"He didn't allow her to go out to the shops alone without him being present."

He added that Ms Dalton went away with friends to Ibiza and when she returned he was waiting for her with flowers which prompted her to try to get away from him by moving into a women's refuge in Seaford, East Sussex.

Mr Farmer said that the defendant managed to contact Ms Dalton and arranged to meet her before following her back to the refuge.

Then in August he persuaded her to return with him to her home in Fordingbridge, Hampshire, on the understanding that they were "ex-partners", Mr Farmer said.

But two days later, on August 30, after Ms Dalton made it clear that their relationship was over, Yewman attempted to strangle her in her bedroom, the court was told.

Mr Farmer said: "Mr Yewman turned up at the refuge over a period of days and eventually got her to come away with him and they went back to Fordingbridge.

"It was made plain to him that he was her ex-partner but the prosecution case is that he couldn't accept that she was effectively rejecting him and it was against that background that he tried to kill her by strangling her not once, but twice."

Mr Farmer described how Ms Dalton passed out after Yewman attempted to strangle her but came to and saw him attempting to cut his own throat with a craft knife before she told him to stop.

The prosecutor added: "She, helpless, vulnerable and scared after the first attack, describes him lifting her onto the bed, placing both his hands around her neck and trying with all his might to squeeze the life out of her."

He said that Yewman stopped only when Ms Dalton's 21-year-old daughter Juliette banged on the door causing him to "release his grip on her throat".

Mr Farmer said that the daughter then called police and her mother, who was "struggling to breath because her neck was swollen internally", was taken to hospital.

He added that Ms Dalton was left "severely traumatised" by the attack."

Mr Farmer said that Yewman told police in interview that he had not meant to hurt Ms Dalton but had acted in self defence and had only "retaliated after she grabbed him".

The prosecutor said that Yewman added: "I love her more than anything in the world."

Yewman, who was in the dock with his hair parted in a curtain style and wearing a blue jumper, denies the charges and the trial continues.