One of the first jailed under new DV strangulation laws

THE victim of a man charged with non-fatal strangulation thought she was going to die as he held his arm against her windpipe.

Drunk and enraged, the Cherbourg man first attacked his former partner with a broom handle before choking her.

He was stopped only when the woman hit him in the genitals, but then retaliated by punching her in the face.

The 25-year-old appeared in Maryborough District Court on December 2, and pleaded guilty to 10 domestic violence-related charges, including the recently introduced non-fatal strangulation or suffocation in a domestic violence setting offence.

The offences were added to the young man's long criminal history; made up of 69 previous convictions.

Crown Prosecutor Alexandra Baker said strangulation was a "serious personal offence", and in this case had been a terrifying experience for the victim. She said the man pushed his forearm against the woman's throat during a violent argument.

"She couldn't breathe, she was terrified, she thought she was going to die," Ms Baker told the court.

About a week later he again assaulted the woman and smashed up her property before the police attended and charged him.

The man's defence Barrister Paul Rutledge said his client had an alcohol problem, and had plans to overcome his problem once he was out of prison.

"My client has served time in prison, but has used it well," Mr Rutledge said.

Judge Ian Dearden described the man's behaviour as an "appalling and despicable way to treat someone who you should love and respect. One thing you should never do is assault your partner," Judge Dearden said.

"She thought she was going to die. That's terrifying. Absolutely terrifying."

"This was an awful way to treat a precious human being."

The man was sentenced to two years in jail, with a parole release date set for May next year.

He was one of the first to be sentenced in the Wide Bay Burnett District, following the introduction of the new strangulation offence on May 1 this year.

A spokesperson from the anti-domestic violence organisation White Ribbon Australia said the stand-alone offence was "critical" in sending a stronger message to abusers about the seriousness of their actions.

"White Ribbon abhors all types of violence, both physical and non-physical that sit along the continuum of violent behaviours," the spokesperson said.

"Strangulation, choking and suffocation are dangerous acts of abuse and the inclusion of these as an offence in a domestic setting is critical."

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