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Sunderland thug wrapped tea towel around girlfriend's neck and threatened to 'choke her out'

Robert Barker
Robert Barker

A brute warned his girlfriend he would "choke her out" after he wrapped a tea towel around her neck during one of a series of violent attacks.

Robert Barker assaulted his victim four times in two months and "made her life a living hell".

Newcastle Crown Court heard the woman told police that being in a two-and-a-half year relationship with the 33-year-old was "the worst decision of her life".

Barker, of The Avenue, Sunderland, admitted four charges of common assault and has been put behind bars for four months but will be released immediately due to the time he has spent on remand.

Judge Robert Spragg issued a restraining order to keep Barker away from the woman in future.

The judge said: "She said her life has been ruined, you made her life a nervous wreck, you shattered her confidence, she worried about upsetting you, you monitored her every move.

"She describes the relationship with you as the worst decision of her life."

Judge Spragg told Barker: "You breached the trust inherent in a relationship, which is somewhere someone should feel safe and secure, not subjected to an appalling catalogue of assaults that you subject her to."

The court heard the maximum sentence Judge Spragg could impose for the attack was six months.

The judge told him; "If it wasn't, I would have no hesitation in imposing a longer sentence."

Barker had also been entitled to a reduction in sentence for his guilty pleas.

Prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw said the first attack happened in April this year when Barker punched and bruised his victim's arm.

The second attack was in May.

Mr Wardlaw said: "The defendant was accusing her of being unfaithful. He threatened he would choke her out after he put a t-towel around her neck and pulled it tight.

"She had difficulty breathing."

The court heard Barker threw an orange at the woman during the violence and left her bruised and sore.

During a third attack, in June, Barker punched and tried to bite the victim.

During the last episode of violence, a few days later. Barker kicked the woman's leg.

Sue Hirst, defending, said Barker understands his behaviour is "unacceptable" and that the relationship is over.

Miss Hirst said Barker has taken steps to move away from his home, which is in an area close to where the woman lives.