'You could have been like Alice Ruggles' - Brute told Sunderland woman she could have been like her murdered friend before strangling her unconsious and threatening to kill her cat

A brute told his ex-partner she ‘could have been like her murdered friend’ before he strangled her unconscious and then sent her a sick selfie of him threatening to kill her cat with a knife.

Monday, 17th June 2019, 3:40 pm
Updated Monday, 17th June 2019, 7:23 pm
Joseph Emery leaving Newcastle Crown Court. Picture by North News
Joseph Emery leaving Newcastle Crown Court. Picture by North News

The victim had been friends with Alice Ruggles, a 24-year-old graduate who was killed by her stalker ex-boyfriend Trimaan Dhillon – who is now serving a life sentence.

Joseph Emery bombarded his ex-partner with 100 texts and 50 calls over just a few days after she ended the relationship.

Emery, 29, turned up at her home in Sunderland last December when she got back from her work’s Christmas party in the early hours, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

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He received a suspended sentence

Prosecutor Claire Anderson told the court that Emery pulled out chunks of her hair, punched her repeatedly and refused to let her leave.

Emery stopped the attack and apologised briefly.

Miss Anderson said: "She had a friendship with Alice Ruggles, who unfortunately was tragically killed by her partner.

"He was well aware of this, all three of them having previously worked together.

The attack happened at a home in Sunderland last year. Picture by North News

"The defendant said to [the victim] 'I can't believe I haven't been arrested. You could have been like Alice Ruggles', a comment she found extremely upsetting."

Emery became ‘angry she was upset’ and began to strangle her with both hands - she believes she became unconscious.

When he fell asleep, she managed to creep out of her home. Emery then sent a sinister selfie of him holding a knife to her cat and said ‘I will kill the cat and myself or you come back home’.

In a victim impact statement, she said the ordeal has left her traumatised and has "fully changed my life".

She was left with a bald patch and bruising to her neck.

Emery, of Hall View, Howdon le Wear, admitted assault and sending malicious communication.Judge Julie Clemitson sentenced him to 18 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with rehabilitation requirements, a 12-month evening curfew and a five-year restraining order.