Rothwell man who strangled former partner loses appeal against prison sentence

His bid was dismissed by appeal judges in London
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

A Rothwell man who left his former partner with bruises after strangling her has failed in an appeal against his prison sentence.

Geoffrey Butler was locked up for just over three years in March, with a court hearing that his victim was always on edge and reliving what happened.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Yesterday (June 30) the 31-year-old launched a bid to reduce his prison term at London’s Court of Appeal, claiming the sentence was manifestly excessive.

Geoffrey ButlerGeoffrey Butler
Geoffrey Butler

But three appeal judges said they would not overturn the decision by Recorder Jennifer Jones, who oversaw the case at Northampton Crown Court, to jail him for three years and 10 weeks.

Butler, of Scott Avenue, was already on bail when he launched the attack on his victim, who he had previously been in a relationship with, just before Christmas.

He raised his left hand to her throat and “squeezed it to the point where she was coughing”, Northampton Crown Court previously heard. She also felt a rush of blood to her head but could still breathe.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Butler, who appeared over videolink from Wellingborough’s HMP Five Wells, then pushed her to the floor and sat on top of her before putting her in a headlock and causing her to hit her head on a wall.

The self-employed fencing worker denied non-fatal strangulation and assault causing actual bodily harm but was found guilty by magistrates, having already pleaded guilty to breaching a non-molestation order.

In a victim impact statement his former partner said she was left with bruising to her neck, arms and legs and was constantly reliving what had happened.

She said: "How can he do that to someone he loved?"

She added that she was always on edge and had to turn off an episode of Happy Valley when a character was strangled.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She said: "Every time I saw the bruises I would be sat thinking about that night and I wanted to forget about it but I couldn't."

Jonathan Rosen, representing Butler, said the total prison term was excessive and appealed for it to be reduced.

He said the injuries sustained by the victim were relatively minor, that the incident was relatively short-lived and that none of Butler’s previous convictions were related to domestic violence.

He said: "This does seem to be out of character. He had not committed any offences for a large amount of time.

"Something snapped inside of him on that particular day."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Court of Appeal case heard Recorder Jones, when passing sentence, had erroneously referred to the sentencing range for offences in a more serious category.

Mr Justice Jacobs said the route taken ‘must be called into question’ – but said the total sentence was appropriate.

He said that the number of aggravating factors – including that Butler was on bail when the incident happened, that he was under the influence of alcohol and that the victim was vulnerable – meant the 18-month starting point for non-fatal strangulation required a significant uplift, before factoring in the additional criminality of the assault and court order breach convictions.

He said: "The overall sentence was therefore not manifestly excessive. We therefore dismiss the appeal."