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An Isle of Wight man has been convicted of the new offence of non-fatal strangulation, under section 70 of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021
Non-fatal strangulation became an offence in its own right, separate to assault, on 7 June this year, under section 70 of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021.
Yesterday (23 June), 26-year-old Joshua James Hunt pleaded guilty to the offence at Isle of Wight Magistrates’ Court.
This is Hampshire Constabulary’s first conviction of the new offence, and believed to be one of the first in the whole country.
The circumstances surrounding this case are that at around 11.50pm on 17 June this year, Hunt grabbed a woman by the throat in the Little London area of Newport.
The woman also sustained bruising to her arms as a result of the assault. She attempted to free herself from Hunt’s grip, and he let go when he noticed a number of members of the public were around, on their way home from the Isle of Wight Festival.
He then proceeded to strangle the woman again to the point she could not breathe, before three members of the public approached the couple and police were called.
Hunt, of Petticoat Lane in Newport, was arrested and subsequently charged with non-fatal strangulation and breach of a restraining order, both of which he admitted when appearing before Magistrates.
He was remanded in custody to appear at Isle of Wight Crown Court for sentencing on August 23.
We could not have got this conviction without the strength of the woman who came forward and told us what Hunt did to her.
Her unwavering bravery has allowed us to apply this new legislation that was only passed into law less than three weeks ago.
Chief Superintendent Dave Powell, Force lead for Domestic Abuse, said: “Tackling domestic abuse, and those who perpetrate it, is a priority for us and we welcome this conviction.
“This was a shocking and violent assault, and I am pleased that such swift action has been taken against the man responsible.
“I am grateful to PC James White and the team who led the investigation for recognising, interpreting and applying this new legislation so quickly to ensure the most robust response was undertaken when dealing with this awful crime.
“The legislation under which Hunt was charged only came into effect on 7 June this year. We hope this conviction reassures the public that Hampshire Constabulary and our partners will take every proactive effort in targeting domestic abuse perpetrators, applying new legislation swiftly, and protecting vulnerable victims.
“We would urge anyone who feels they are a victim of domestic abuse not to suffer in silence. Please call the police or a domestic abuse support service. Your calls will be taken seriously.”
Louise Holmes, CPS Wessex Senior District Crown Prosecutor and Domestic Abuse Lead, said:
“Domestic abuse has a devastating impact on victims and their family – this new law gives prosecutors more charging powers to protect people from violent abusers and I am pleased to see it being used already to bring offenders to justice.
“Our prosecutors have received training on the new non-fatal strangulation and non-fatal suffocation offences. We are ready to apply the new legislation where there is sufficient evidence and our legal test is met.
“We are working closely with the police to make sure these horrendous crimes are identified from the outset.”
We appreciate not everyone has the confidence to report to police. However, there are organisations in your area, completely independent of the police that can help you if you need it. Visit our website here to find a list of support services near you that can help: https://www.hampshire.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/daa/domestic-abuse/support-organisations/