Ukrainian-born classical singer, 42, loses her job after being hounded by possessive ex-boyfriend

Ukrainian-born classical singer, 42, loses her job after being hounded by possessive ex-boyfriend who was furious that she moved her mother into their home

  • Oleksandra Antonova, 42, was stalked by her possessive ex-boyfriend 
  • Robert Pugh, 37, who lives with his parents, would wait for hours at her work
  • Miss Antonova lost her singing lecturing job at Tameside College due to anxiety
  • Pugh moved into a flat she owned and was furious she let her mother move in 
  • A five-year restraining order was imposed at Minshull Street Crown Court

A classical music singer lost her lecturing job after she was hounded by a possessive ex-boyfriend who was furious that she moved her mother into their home.

Oleksandra Antonova, 42, was left living in fear after 37-year-old Robert Pugh bombarded her with phone calls, arrived uninvited at her home with flowers and would show up at her work and wait for hours to see her.

The Ukrainian-born choir mistress, from Denton, Greater Manchester, said she later lost her job at Tameside College, where she worked as a music teacher, due to anxiety caused by the harassment.

Pugh ‘pestered’ Miss Antonova to let him move into a flat she had bought and got angry when she then moved her Ukrainian mother in, saying ‘she doesn’t even speak English’. 

In a phone call, Pugh was quoted saying ‘Don’t think I can’t get to you, I can get to you anywhere’, to which Miss Antonova replied ‘please stop chasing me’. 

Oleksandra Antonova, 42, was left living in fear after 37-year-old Robert Pugh bombarded her with phone calls, arrived uninvited at her home with flowers, would turn up at her workplace just to see her

Oleksandra Antonova, 42, was left living in fear after 37-year-old Robert Pugh bombarded her with phone calls, arrived uninvited at her home with flowers, would turn up at her workplace just to see her

Her possessive ex-boyfriend Pugh (pictured left) warned her: 'Don't think I can't get to you, I can get to you anywhere'

Her possessive ex-boyfriend Pugh (pictured left) warned her: ‘Don’t think I can’t get to you, I can get to you anywhere’

The mother of one, who is a concert pianist, told police: ‘Since this person appeared in my life I have experienced anxiety and depression. I feel very insecure in my own home and I just want to continue my normal life without him. My personality is not the same as before.’

At Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester Pugh who lives with his parents in Prescot, near Liverpool admitted harassment and was banned from contacting Miss Antonova for five years under the terms of a restraining order.

The court heard the pair had met around Christmas 2020 and briefly lived together.

Tom Sherrington prosecuting said: ‘Initially the relationship got on well and there was genuine affection there. However the relationship changed in May 2021 when the defendant got angry after Oleksandra had friends over without telling him.

‘She bought a property in Denton in July 2021 and after some pestering she reluctantly allowed Pugh to move in with her. But a few months later Oleksandra invited her older Ukrainian mother to live in the house with them.

The mother of one, who is a concert pianist, told police: 'Since this person appeared in my life I have experienced anxiety and depression'

The mother of one, who is a concert pianist, told police: ‘Since this person appeared in my life I have experienced anxiety and depression’

‘The defendant did not like this and complained that ‘she doesn’t even speak English’. He also claimed that the house was more his than her mothers.

‘The first instance of a police callout came on January 1 when the defendant became annoyed that Oleksandra and her mother wanted to eat Ukrainian food in the house and that he felt excluded.

‘This started an argument between the two which transpired with Pugh picking up a gin bottle and throwing it at Oleksandra. She locked herself in the bathroom but he opened the lock with and coin and her mother had to come between the two and break it up.

‘After this they took time apart but Pugh kept intermittently turning up at the house with flowers begging for her to take him back.

‘One day, in an attempt to stop her leaving her house, Pugh jumped into her car and threw coffee over her. He then got in his car and drove up to her car, blocking her exit from the driveway.

Tom Sherrington prosecuting said: 'The first instance of a police callout came on January 1 when the defendant became annoyed that Oleksandra and her mother wanted to eat Ukrainian food in the house and that he felt excluded'

Tom Sherrington prosecuting said: ‘The first instance of a police callout came on January 1 when the defendant became annoyed that Oleksandra and her mother wanted to eat Ukrainian food in the house and that he felt excluded’

‘When they were both at home together she got in the habit of locking herself in the bathroom to stay away from him.’

Mr Sherrington added: ‘The defendant also frequently turned up to the college in which she worked as a classical music teacher. Witnesses say that he waited there for hours to see her. One time she recorded 38 missed calls and countless messages from him. She then blocked his number.

‘In one call the defendant was quoted as saying ‘Don’t think I can’t get to you, I can get to you anywhere’. She said ‘please stop chasing me’

‘In her victim personal statement Oleksandra said she left all her other family in Ukraine and refused to tell her family and friends about the relationship. She said he kept insisting throughout the relationship that she could trust him but she kept having to take days of work to cope with her situation and she was eventually diagnosed with anxiety.

Mr Sherrington added: 'The defendant also frequently turned up to the college in which she worked as a classical music teacher'

Mr Sherrington added: ‘The defendant also frequently turned up to the college in which she worked as a classical music teacher’

‘He kept gas lighting her when she got anxious and said she should keep taking her pills. He demanded attention constantly. She lost her job as a result of the anxiety she felt and the investigation by the police into her relationship.’

In mitigation defence counsel Martin Sharpe said character references referred to Pugh as ‘shy, quiet and polite.’

He added: ‘We are dealing with a 37 year old ‘boy’ man whose level of emotional understanding is limited. He did intend for his conduct to cause the victim some distress and he recognises that. A probation report said he has difficulty grasping emotional concepts.’

Pugh was also sentenced to five months jail suspended for 18 months and was ordered to complete a ‘Building Better Relationships’ rehabilitation programme. He shook his head throughout the sentence, refusing to acknowledge the facts.

Pugh was also sentenced to five months jail suspended for 18 months and was ordered to complete a 'Building Better Relationships' rehabilitation programme

Pugh was also sentenced to five months jail suspended for 18 months and was ordered to complete a ‘Building Better Relationships’ rehabilitation programme

The judge Miss Recorder Abigail Hudson told him: ‘I am bound to say I am concerned by your behaviour, by what you did. It’s clear to me you do not understand when your behaviour spills over into overbearing. It’s clear she doesn’t want you there and it seems to me that this is a young man that needs to grow up.’

According to her LinkedIn page Miss Antonova, who trained at Kharkiv National University of Arts, the leading music and drama institution of higher education in Ukraine, attained the maximum grade eight level in piano and was a choral conductor and choirmaster.

After moving to the UK she was a singer in the Manchester chamber choir before joining the staff of Tameside college in 2016 as a singing lecturer. She is also principal of a local drama school.

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