Man squeezed Blackpool girlfriend's throat during drunken argument after suspecting her of having an affair

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A tempestuous relationship boiled over into violence when a man suspected his partner of having an affair, a court in Preston heard.

Craig Wilde grabbed her around the throat and squeezed for around 10 seconds, Judge Heather Lloyd was told.

The 51-year-old, who was said to have an "appalling" criminal record - including at least one previous assault against his long-time girlfriend - was sent to prison for 16 months after pleading guilty to assault causing actual bodily harm.

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But because Wilde, of no fixed address, has already served more than seven months on remand waiting for the case to come to court, he could be released immediately.

He was also made the subject of a restraining order banning him from contacting his ex-partner for five years.

Craig Wilde grabbed the victim around her throat and squeezed for around 10 seconds (Stock image credit: Karolina Grabowska)Craig Wilde grabbed the victim around her throat and squeezed for around 10 seconds (Stock image credit: Karolina Grabowska)
Craig Wilde grabbed the victim around her throat and squeezed for around 10 seconds (Stock image credit: Karolina Grabowska) | Karolina Grabowska

Judge Heather Lloyd was told Wilde and the victim had been in an "on and off" relationship for a number of years.

They had been at her house in Blackpool in May last year when they began to argue.

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Barrister Harriet Tighe, prosecuting, said Wilde, who had drunk more alcohol than he normally would, believed his partner was having an affair with a family friend.

In the commotion that followed he put his hands around her throat and squeezed tight before suddenly letting go and apologising.

The victim did not report the assault to police at the time, but mentioned it when officers called at the address some days later on another matter.

When interviewed Wilde denied the assault.

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Miss Tighe told the court his record showed 166 previous offences, some of them for violence, including one of battery against the victim.

Daniel Harman, representing Wilde, said his client had served seven months and 15 days on remand - the equivalent of a 15-month sentence with half on licence.

Added to that was a further month on recall to prison, meaning he had completed the equivalent of 17 months.

"He is a defendant who is old enough to know better," he said.

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And he told the judge it was not a case where he could argue for a suspended sentence because of Wilde's history with his girlfriend and his past record generally.

He said that in prison, where he didn't have access to alcohol, Wilde had been a trusted inmate, even serving as a listener for the Samaritans.

Judge Lloyd told him: "You have an appalling antecedent history. It is not the first time you have been violent towards your victim and on this occasion your violence towards her seems to have been more serious than previously.

"In the past she has taken you back and this is how you reward her. There is little remorse, although it is said in the pre-sentence report that you are thoroughly ashamed of what you did, but I have doubts about that because of your denial.

"Perhaps when you are sober you are a different person to when you are not. And you weren't sober on that night."