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Sussex Police brings first strangulation charge under new legislation

Sussex Police has charged a man with non-fatal strangulation in one of the first uses of new legislation aimed at combating violent domestic abuse.

Two new offences – non-fatal strangulation and non-fatal suffocation – were introduced into the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 on June 7, carrying a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment.

Twenty-five-year-old Jeremy Bird, of Nineham Gardens in Caterham, has now become the first person in the county to be charged with one of the offences.

It follows a call to police shortly before 4.30am on Saturday (June 11) to a violent domestic argument in Portslade.

Officers attended and a woman at the address reported having been assaulted, including prolonged strangulation.

Bird was arrested at the scene and subsequently charged with strangling to render unconscious/incapable of resistance with intent to commit indictable offence and criminal damage under £5,000.

He appeared at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Monday (June 13) and released on bail with strict conditions, pending trial on August 17.

Superintendent Adele Tucknott, Sussex Police’s lead for Violence Against Women and Girls, said: “Domestic abuse has devastating, life-long effects on victims, who are often left with little or no visible marks.

“That should in no way detract from the seriousness of these offences and we understand that the impacts of domestic abuse go far beyond physical injuries.

“This new legislation gives us more power to protect victims and their families and Sussex Police will continue to do everything in its power to safeguard victims of domestic abuse and bring perpetrators to justice.”

Detective Chief Inspector Jon Gillings, of Brighton and Hove’s Safeguarding Investigations Unit, said: “The officers who responded to this incident must be commended for their proactive actions in detaining a suspect and removing him from the area to protect the victim and her family.

“Strangulation and suffocation are sadly common practice by repeat perpetrators of domestic violence and our investigative team did not hesitate to use these new charging powers.

“Going forward, they will serve as an additional tool in catching violent offenders.” 

For more information on domestic abuse, including how to report, visit the Sussex Police Website

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