Man avoids prison after strangling former girlfriend

Non-custodial sentence - no prison
8 June, 2022

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Case study summary

Our client was a young man with no previous convictions at the start of a promising career. A combination of very difficult circumstances led to him acting out of character and assaulting his former girlfriend. We persuaded the court that he should not go to prison.

Case study

We were approached by a young man who was at the start of his career, having graduated from university a few years ago. He had recently secured a new job within the property industry. He had no previous convictions and had never been in any trouble before.

His relationship with his previous girlfriend has recently broken down, but he still lived with her as their tenancy had not finished. This has caused a very difficult personal situation. One evening, when under the influence of alcohol and following an argument about her new partner, our client strangled her. He was horrified by what he had done and extremely remorseful for his actions. This led to him being charged with assault and given a date to appear in court. There was video-recorded evidence of the assault and the client accepted his actions.

Assaults of this type are taken very seriously by the court and the fact that the client was drunk and it was in a domestic setting made this worse. The client knew that there was a very real chance of him going to prison, so he contacted our specialist criminal lawyers to prepare his defence.

The key to this case was showing that this was a one-off occasion and that our client regretted his actions. We had to persuade that the court that this was not going to happen again. We obtained a variety of references to show who the client really was. We had to ensure we took a careful and tactful approach as we wanted to highlight all of our client's positive features without taking away from the suffering his former partner had experienced.

We hand-selected an experienced barrister who was able to approach this case with the sensitivity it needed. She was able to use the evidence we had gathered to inform the court about the changes the client had made in his life, including how he had stopped drinking.

The court accepted that this was a young man who had made a mistake and, whilst he should be punished, it would have been wrong to send him to prison. The client was given a suspended prison sentence. This means that he will not go to prison unless he commits a further offence or fails to keep to certain conditions. Since the case concluded, he has been able to start his new job and has addressed his drinking problem.

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