A DRUNK chef throttled his girlfriend in a sustained attack – then asked her to roll him a cigarette.
When police caught up with Shane Harper, 30, outside Tesco in the early hours of Good Friday, he claimed to have a “strap” – or gun – in his bag and threatened to shoot the officer trying to arrest him.
Jailing Harper for 16 weeks at Swindon Magistrates’ Court on Saturday, chairman of the bench Linda Raine said: “This assault was in a domestic situation, there were children in the house and there was substantial bruising to your victim’s neck.
“You’ve been recently released from custody on post-sentence supervision. We do feel that these offences have crossed the custody threshold.”
Earlier, prosecutor Kate Prince told the justices that Harper had been in a relationship with his victim since August last year. The pair had met on Facebook.
The woman stuck by her new partner despite him being recalled to prison for six months. He was given a 15 month jail sentence in October 2019 after he was caught lurking outside a Swindon school topless and armed with a knife.
On Thursday evening, the couple had both been drinking at her West Swindon home. Harper told his partner he wanted to go out “for a proper session” although she wanted to go to bed, Ms Prince said. She told him to lock the door behind him.
In a statement summarised to the court, the victim said Harper’s “face changed” and his eyes appeared to be angry. He hit her in the face and she felt her lip “pop”. He was said to have told her: “I can’t do anything with you. I can’t have friends or talk to people.”
Harper dragged her from the bathroom to the bedroom, punched her in the stomach, pushed her onto the bed then began throttling her. She tried to fight back, telling police she remembered biting his hand.
Ms Prince said: “She genuinely thought he was going to kill her at one point.” She ran downstairs and out to a neighbour’s house, where she called the police. Her children were in the house at the time of the attack.
Police caught up with Harper at around 3.30am on April 2 outside the Tesco Express in Shaw. As he reached into his bag, the defendant said: “I’ve got a strap, bruv.” He was accused of threatening to shoot the officer, PC Andrew Lacey, who took “strap” to mean a gun.
PC Lacey used his pepper spray on Harper, who fled. He was picked up on a footpath nearby.
Despite pleading guilty to assault by beating and threatening behaviour, Harper, of Kennedy Drive, Eldene, protested as the prosecutor read out the facts.
Emma Hillier, mitigating, said her client was working with the probation service, volunteering at a food bank and with the homeless and had work lined up as a chef. “For once in his life, Mr Harper, is making some positive changes.”
Harper is banned from contacting his victim for two years.
For support, contact Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service on 01793 610610.
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