Thug who strangled partner and smothered her with pillow is jailed under new domestic violence law

Thug, 28, who strangled his partner and tried to suffocate her with a pillow is jailed under new law designed to punish domestic violence

  • Tyler Lowe, 28, was jailed for two years under the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 
  • He plead guilty to strangulation, suffocation, assault and damaging a phone 
  • Non-fatal strangulation or suffocation became a specific offence in June

A thug who strangled his partner and tried to suffocate her with a pillow has become one of the first to be sentenced under a new law designed to punish domestic violence.

Tyler Lowe, 28, was jailed for two years under the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 after pleading guilty to strangulation, suffocation, assault and damaging his victim’s phone.

A judge used powers under the act to jail him for the use of non-fatal strangulation or suffocation, which became a specific offence in June, punishable with a jail term of up to five years.

Before then abusers who strangled victims could often only be charged with common assault, which has a maximum sentence of six months in prison.

Lowe was also issued a restraining order and banned from contacting his victim for 10 years. 

Bolton Crown Court heard how he had previously been jailed for attacking his partner, who moved towns to get away from him and start a new life.

Tyler Lowe (pictured), 28, was jailed for two years under the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 after pleading guilty to strangulation, suffocation, assault and damaging his victim's phone

Tyler Lowe (pictured), 28, was jailed for two years under the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 after pleading guilty to strangulation, suffocation, assault and damaging his victim’s phone

David Farley, prosecuting, said Lowe was released from prison on licence with conditions to stay away from her.

But just after 10pm on June 28, police were called to her home by concerned neighbours who heard a ‘bad argument’ and she opened the door to them.

Mr Farley said: ‘In their view she was visibly shaken and upset. She reluctantly confirmed that it was the defendant who had been at the address.’

The woman told officers she had agreed to start seeing Lowe again after he promised things would be different.

She suffered bruises and stated that, two days earlier, Lowe had tried to strangle her and had held a pillow over her face.

She feared that he would kill her, the court heard.

Lowe had run from the address but police found him there again on July 5 and arrested him.

The court heard Lowe has multiple previous convictions for violence including affray and criminal damage.

In 2019 he was jailed for headbutting and punching his girlfriend in the face.

Nicholas Ross, defending, said at the time of the offences, Lowe’s mental health treatment was not working properly.

Bolton Crown Court (pictured) heard how Lowe had previously been jailed for attacking his partner, who moved towns to get away from him and start a new life.

Bolton Crown Court (pictured) heard how Lowe had previously been jailed for attacking his partner, who moved towns to get away from him and start a new life.

He added: ‘Coupled with some drink on the two days in question with the victim, that, unfortunately, sent him over the edge.

‘He is devastated for the victim and he understands this sort of conduct is shameful and has no place whatsoever in society.

‘He understands he has a lot of work and learning to do.’

Sentencing, Judge Tom Gilbart told Lowe: ‘This was vulnerable victim – a woman in her own home.

‘Holding a pillow over a victims face and strangling her risked the most serious consequences.’

Choking a partner became a specific criminal offence under new domestic abuse legislation brought in last year. 

The proposal was first put forward by campaigners after statistics showed that one in five sex assault victims are strangled by their partner.

Choking or throttling was previously only punishable under common assault law, which carries a maximum sentence of six months.

Choking a partner became a specific criminal offence under new domestic abuse legislation brought in last year (stock image)

Choking a partner became a specific criminal offence under new domestic abuse legislation brought in last year (stock image)  

Referring to choking, Victims' Commissioner Dame Vera Baird (pictured) previously told The Daily Telegraph: 'It is a very frequently used and very effective way of terrifying someone. It is a very frightening tool of coercive control.'

Referring to choking, Victims’ Commissioner Dame Vera Baird (pictured) previously told The Daily Telegraph: ‘It is a very frequently used and very effective way of terrifying someone. It is a very frightening tool of coercive control.’

But domestic abuse groups argued perpetrators were rarely prosecuted because defendants commonly claimed choking took place as part of consensual sex – and there can be little sign of physical injury.

They said that treating choking as common assault undermined its severity and the terror inflicted on its victims.

Nearly a third of female murders in the UK were due to strangulation or suffocation in 2018, compared with three per cent of male murders. 

Referring to choking, Victims’ Commissioner Dame Vera Baird previously told The Daily Telegraph: ‘It is a very frequently used and very effective way of terrifying someone. It is a very frightening tool of coercive control.

‘For the same price as a tiny slap, you let her know you are in control but with only the risk of a tiny mark so police never take notice.’

Researcher Dr Catherine White, director of St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Manchester, said last year that a fifth of women who had been raped by their partner said they had been choked.

Research in America also found victims of non-fatal strangulation are seven times more likely to be killed in domestic abuse than non-victims.

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