Two-year-old tried to fight off his father who was strangling former partner
A TWO-YEAR-OLD child threw punches at his father in a desperate attempt to stop him strangling his estranged partner while high on cocaine, Southampton Crown Court heard.
Victim Samantha Lamb said she thought she was “going to die” during the attack by David Douglas which left her “shaking” and causes her continuing nightmares.
Douglas, of Chapel Lane, Blackfield, was sent down for 12 months after he admitted a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm against Ms Lamb, with whom he had previously been in a relationship for 16 years.
Prosecutor Nicola Roberson said 43-year-old Douglas and mother-of-three Ms Lamb, who split around two years ago, had been getting along well in the weeks before the incident on 25th May as he appeared to have kicked his cocaine habit.
He turned up at her Fawley home at around 3.30pm but after she asked him to leave, an argument developed, eventually turning into the living room attack.
“At one point he was asking her about getting back together and she was clear she did not want to – and he started to get aggressive,” Ms Roberson said.
“He began coming up towards her and intimidating her and she says he ‘moved really quickly’ and his hands come up and then all of a sudden he had her by the throat with his hands.
“In her statement, Ms Lamb recalled he was squeezing her throat so much she couldn’t take a breath and he said, ‘You are going to die and I am going to die’.
“She believed she was really going to die and was thinking of her children.”
Ms Lamb scratched at Douglas, Ms Roberson continued, and was trying to get him off when the couple’s two-year-old son ran in and began hitting Douglas.
Douglas eventually stopped the attack, Ms Lamb claimed, telling her he would never go so far as to kill her, adding: “I’m sorry. I wouldn’t do it.”
Friends of hers arrived at the property as she caught her breath and Douglas tried to make them leave, but her sister phoned the police, the prosecutor said.
Douglas left the property but returned and was arrested, the court heard.
Ms Lamb said she had been subjected to incidents of violence during their relationship, adding: “I felt like a prisoner. I managed to get out but he still haunts me today.”
Douglas had 28 previous convictions for 98 offences, the court heard. One was a now-expired offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm on a previous partner in 1999.
Defending Douglas, Amber Athill highlighted her client entered an early guilty plea, which she stressed was on a certain basis.
That claimed Douglas was making daily visits to Ms Lamb’s home in the days before the attack to see their children, and on this occasion she refused to let him see them and scratched him before the incident. He also denied making any threats to kill her.
Ms Athill said her client was a cocaine user. However, in the weeks before this incident he had being doing well, and weaning himself off the drug had led to an improvement in relations with Ms Lamb. A relapse caused the attack.
“This was a slip-up, a very bad slip-up, but a slip-up nonetheless,” she said. “It wasn’t pre-meditated.”
Since then Douglas had confronted his issues and stopped taking drugs, and was engaging with the Inclusion service and probation, she said. He was very remorseful and agreed a restraining order would be beneficial.
Douglas, she stressed, had been out of trouble for more than four years before the offence, and she highlighted he had learning difficulties and mental health issues, struggled to communicate, and had suicidal tendencies.
Passing sentence, Judge Nicholas Rowland called the attack a “prolonged strangling” against Ms Lamb, who he said was a “vulnerable victim in her own home”.
Those were “serious aggravating features” and persuaded Judge Rowland that Douglas must receive a jail term. He also handed the defendant a restraining order, banning him from having any contact with the victim for five years.
As Douglas was led away to the cells, his mother shouted: “Love you,” before busting into tears. “He had been doing so well,” she added.