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Compton man Christopher Flynn strangled partner Elaine Dyson with tea towel

A MAN strangled a woman with a tea towel until she almost passed out.

The victim was moments from death during the brutal attack, Reading Crown Court heard.

Reading Crown Court
Reading Crown Court

In the dock for sentencing on Thursday, November 23, was Christopher Flynn.

Chloe Lennon, prosecuting, said the 52-year-old had been in a relationship with Elaine Dyson but that, by November last year, it had soured.

Flynn was frequently drunk and abusive towards Ms Dyson, the court heard.

On the day in question, the pair had been to the Toby Carvery by the Robin Hood Roundabout in Newbury.

Flynn stopped off at a One Stop shop for a 10-pack of lager before they went back to Ms Dyson’s home, where they were both living.

An argument ensued and neighbour Jessica Harless could hear Flynn screaming abuse through the walls, said Ms Lennon.

Flynn then grabbed Ms Dyson by the arm and hurled her to the floor.

Ms Lennon went on: “Mr Flynn then grabbed the complainant by the neck and smashed her head into the kitchen table.”

He then twisted a tea towel round her neck from behind and pulled it tight.

Ms Lennon said: “She believed she might die; she lost control of her bladder.

“She struggled to put her fingers between the tea towel and her throat.”

Flynn then stopped and Ms Dyson fled, the court heard.

Police later found Flynn asleep on the sofa, “intoxicated and worn out from violence”, said Ms Lennon.

Flynn, who was living at Wilson Close, Compton, admitted assaulting Ms Dyson by beating her and attempted intentional strangulation on November 10 last year.

He did so on the basis that he had not smashed Ms Dyson’s head into the table and that he had desisted from strangling her before she passed out.

Flynn also has convictions for 25 previous offences, including assaults causing actual bodily harm, harassment and breaching a restraining order.

In a victim impact statement Ms Dyson said the attack had ruined her life; that she had believed she was being murdered and that she was now terrified in her own home.

She added: “I’m scared my life will end in a violent way at his hands.

“I fear that no matter where I go or who I meet that Flynn is somewhere there waiting for me.”

She has had to move and the Lions Club of Newbury had funded special doorbell security for her, the court heard.

George Joseph, defending, blamed his client’s behaviour on alcohol dependence and mental health issues.

He pointed out that Flynn had spent months in custody awaiting sentence and, while in prison, had taken steps to address his issues.

He pleaded with Judge Neil Millard to impose a suspended sentence and said: “I would propose there’s a realistic prospect of rehabilitation.”

Judge Millard said Flynn’s actions had caused “a real and justified fear of death”.

He said Ms Dyson believed she had lost control of her bladder due to fear, but added: “I note that it only takes a few seconds for a person to lose control of her bladder because of the effect of lack of oxygen on the brain.

“A few seconds more and they lose consciousness; a few seconds after that and there’s a risk of death.

“That’s why strangulation is such a serious offence.”

Nevertheless he said he would suspend the inevitable prison sentence because Flynn had spent so long in custody already and because prisons were overcrowded.

Flynn was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment suspended for two years.

He was ordered to pay £250 costs, plus a statutory victim services surcharge.

Finally, Flynn was made subject to a 10-year restraining order to protect Ms Dyson from him.

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