A MAN got so drunk he couldn't remember subjecting his girlfriend to a terrifying attack in her home.

Craig Berry, of Riverside Park in Garden City, appeared at Mold Crown Court for sentence on Wednesday.

The 37-year-old had pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to offences of intentional strangulation and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

David Mainstone, prosecuting, told the court that the victim, Kirsty Lee Jones, had been in a relationship with Berry for three years prior to the offences.

On August 19 last year, they went to Chester to spend the day with friends.

But an argument ensued over Berry's behaviour towards Ms Jones' friends.

They left Chester separately and when she returned home, Berry was already there.

Their arguments continued, following which Berry kicked her in the shin.

He then grabbed her around the throat with both hands and strangled her with such force that her legs began to tingle.

She panicked and feared she was going to die.


After Berry released her, he put his fingers in her mouth and pulled at her cheek.

The victim said the act felt like "he was trying to rip her mouth apart."

Ms Jones suffered cuts to the inside of her mouth, swelling to her face, bruising to her arms and leg and red marks on her neck - as well as losing her voice as a result of the strangling.

When Berry was interviewed by police, he said he hadn't even been at the property.

He claimed he'd been in Yorkshire helping a relative to move house.

But in reality, the court heard, he'd been "so drunk" at the time of the attack, he didn't remember it happening - retaining only "hazy" recollections of the events.

Simon Killeen, defending, told the court his client had spent 32 days on remand prior to being granted bail by the Crown Court, following which he'd spent 109 days on an electronically monitored curfew - which he asked the court to count towards any sentence.

He explained: "My client knows that if the court decides it must be immediate custody, he can't moan.

"He is a low risk of general reoffending - but a high one when he gets into a relationship as he has a previous conviction for an assault in a domestic context from a long time ago.

"He has an offer of premises in Chester and an offer of employment in Cambridge - he's experienced in the field of pothole repair and tarmacking.

"His employer knows he's in front of the Crown Court and I am instructed accommodation will be made to allow him to attend any programmes.

The Leader:

"He's indicated there's a degree of flexibility because of the need for people who have these skills."

Mr Killeen conceded that the court's choice was a "stark" one, adding his client "has some remorse."

Judge Niclas Parry told the defendant: "Let there be no doubt about it. Offences of strangulation have, in certain cases, related to people dying.

"You strangled this lady with sufficient force to cause her to start to lose control of her legs.

"She thought she was going to die.

"And that wasn't enough - you put your fingers in her mouth and as she described it, that felt as if you were trying to rip her face apart.

"Aggravating any starting point [for sentence] is that you committed these offences when you were so drunk, you don't remember the incident.

"Your description for the incident is hazy."

Judge Parry handed down a 12 month sentence for the two offences, but said given the defendant had already served the equivalent of half of that on remand and curfew, he'd be released within a matter of months should the sentence be made immediate.

As such, he suspended it for 18 months - on the strict understanding that Berry will undertake 250 hours of unpaid work and 35 days on a building better relationships programme.

"Any application to remove either of those will be refused," the Judge said.

"We will not entertain an application that work prevents you from attending."

A five year restraining order was also imposed for the victim's protection.