A MAN who strangled his girlfriend and left her fearing for her life has avoided jail.

Thomas Lewis, of Rowan Rise in Barnton, has been handed a suspended sentence after admitting to the intentional strangulation of his partner.

They had been in an 'on-off' relationship for three years before the attack on September 13 last year, explained Karl Scholz, prosecuting.

“Issues began between them when she discovered he had been unfaithful,” he added.

Mr Scholz continued, explaining that the couple had been out for a meal and a drink at a pub, at which point 'everything was OK'.

On their way back to the victim’s home, in Northwich, an argument began although it is not clear what sparked this.

Lewis, 26, began pushing the victim in the chest, which she said he 'often does when we argue'.

In the dining room, Lewis grabbed the victim by her neck with both hands.

He put pressure on her neck 'to the point where she could not breathe', Mr Scholz explained.

He then did the same in the kitchen.

“The complainant describes how she was gasping for air while he stood there, applying pressure and just watching her,” Mr Scholz added.

“At this point she felt she was going to be sick.”

The victim called 999 and went upstairs, with Lewis asking what she was doing.

When she returned downstairs, he grabbed the phone and threw it to a floor before damaging a lampshade.

Mr Scholz concluded: “She genuinely believed Lewis was going to kill her.

“He was saying sorry afterwards and begging her not to call the police.”

Lewis pleaded guilty to two charges of intentional strangulation and a further charge of criminal damage, relating to the lampshade, at Warrington Magistrates Court on December 22, 2023.

He appeared at Chester Crown Court on Friday (December 19) for sentencing, where recorder Ciaran Rankin said had this case gone to trial and Lewis been convicted, he would have been sent to prison.

However, given his guilty plea and remorse shown since the attack, Mr Rankin instead imposed a nine-month sentence, suspended for 12 months.

He said: “Authorities suggest that only the most exceptional circumstances of intentional strangulation warrant a custodial sentence.

“My conclusion is that there is another way of dealing with this young man.

“He grabbed the victim by her neck and strangled her until she couldn’t breathe, that must have been terrifying for her.

“It is clearly an unhealthy relationship.”

Mr Rankin also ordered Lewis to complete 150 hours of unpaid work and complete the Building Better Relationships programme.

He must also pay £480 in costs and a further £250 in compensation.