A CONTROLLING South Yorkshire man has been jailed after nearly strangling his partner when he thought she was having an affair.
Darren Ward, aged 32, “lost it” and grabbed Hayley Peace around the throat. He came to his senses only after suffocating her to the point of unconsciousness.
Although he has a caution for assaulting a previous partner, he was charged only with assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Prosecutor Zaiban Alam said the Crown Prosecution Service considered the charge at some length and decided there was no intention to kill Miss Peace - who watched proceedings in the public gallery. The couple are no longer together.
Ms Alam told Sheffield Crown Court the couple had been going out for five years when Ward - father to their two-year-old child, and stepdad to Miss Peace’s seven-year-old son - started to behave in a controlling manner.
In February this year she was on the phone to a male friend for 40 minutes and believed Ward was trying to listen in. When she asked him what he was doing he said he only wanted to ask her if the dog had been walked that day.
She laughed and Ward jumped up, lay on top of her on the bed and put his hands around her throat saying: “This is the end of us.”
As she began screaming, he said he wanted to kill her. He put his thumbs on her windpipe and squeezed. She stopped fighting, thinking she was going to die,” said Ms Alam. “She was going to take the easy way out because she didn’t want her children to hear what was going on.”
Miss Peace blacked out and came round to find Ward trying to revive her. He repeatedly apologised and then took a knife from the kitchen drawer. He told her he had not wanted to kill her but himself, and things had happened “the wrong way round”.
Ward was arrested two days later and maintained he did not want to kill his partner or cause her serious harm.
Ward, of High Street, Rawmarsh, Rotherham, admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Richard Jepson, defending, said the couple both worked but were in debt and Ward felt his partner did not pay her way. They were several months behind with the rent and bills were mounting up. He claimed what cash came into the house was being spent by the complainant.
And, he added: “He had it in his mind rightly or wrongly that she had been unfaithful.”
Judge Alan Goldsack told Ward: “I’m satisfied by the time you committed this offence you were a man very close to the end of your tether.”
But he added: “Despite what your intentions may have been the consequences could have been more serious.”
Ward was jailed for 20 months and given a restraining order banning him from entering High Street, Rawmarsh and having any contact with his former partner except through a solicitor.