A WREXHAM man has been spared jail after strangling his then-wife and punching a dog.

Graham Connor, of Ridley View, appeared at Mold Crown Court for sentence on Wednesday morning.

The 31-year-old, who appeared via video link from HMP Berwyn, had previously pleaded guilty to a raft of offences, including: assault by beating, intentional strangulation, causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, resisting police and assaulting an emergency worker.

Myles Wilson, prosecuting, told the court Michaela Deponeo was in a relationship with Connor for some ten years - and was married to him for four of those.

In 2016 he was convicted of common assault for punching her in the back, pulling her hair and "squeezing her throat lightly."

Ms Deponeo described her husband as having a "short temper" - which had been gradually getting worse.

Mr Wilson explained that in the latest offences, which began on June 23 last year, Ms Deponeo attempted to run from the defendant when he lashed out at her, punching her hard in the hip.

Then, on October 7, an argument began at the family home.

Connor lost his temper and grabbed Ms Deponeo by the throat with one hand.

During the incident their dog, a five-month-old border collie, bit the defendant's leg.

He responded by kicking the pet in the stomach, punching it in the head and stomach and grabbing it by the throat before throwing it outside.

He left the home for a time, but on his return he kicked his then-wife to the back and told her to "f*** off."

Police arrived after he took up a knife and held it to his own throat.

Ms Deponeo made a retraction statement in relation to the offences in January, saying she felt he'd learned his lesson - but the defendant went on to plead guilty to the crimes in February.

He was bailed to appear before the Crown Court for sentence in March - with conditions not to contact the victim.

But he did contact her - texting: "I was thinking I could be a stay-at-home dad, and could do the cooking and cleaning please?"

Police were informed about the contact and went to arrest Connor.

He became emotional and upset, refusing to get up off a couch once cuffed - but when he eventually did and was led outside he attempted to run.


Police apprehended him however and conveyed him into custody, but not before he kicked out and attempted to bite an officer.

Philip Tully, defending, told the court: "He accepts these offences are serious in nature.

"His conduct was totally unacceptable.

"He has shown genuine remorse and is ashamed.

"He does have issues in regards to his mental health.

"But to his credit, he is taking steps to try and address those.

"He was attending counselling and was doing well."

Mr Tully told the court his client had "already suffered a great deal" in that he had spent the last month on remand and had not had any contact with his children.

"It is clear he would benefit from the support of a probation officer and can be helped and managed in the community," he added.

The Leader:

Judge Timothy Petts concluded that the best way to address the defendant's issues was to impose a package of punishment and rehabilitation in the community.

As such, Connor received an overall sentence of 15 months custody - but that was suspended for 21 months.

He must undertake 125 hours of unpaid work, a programme requirement of up to 35 sessions and 25 days of rehabilitation activity.

A five-year restraining order was put in place to protect Ms Deponeo.

"You have a very real opportunity now to put all of this behind you," the Judge told Connor.