Ex Blackpool soldier admits punching and spitting at partner, making a noose around her neck and holding a knife to her - but avoids jail due to his problems, including PTSD

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A woman was subjected to two violent ordeals by her partner who pretended to hug her then attacked her, a court has heard.

Former infantry soldier Deren Stapleton, 38, from Runcorn Avenue, Blackpool, even formed a ligature with the woman's scarf and held a steak knife to her face.

Crown Court

Crown Court

He admits two common assaults and an affray, relating to his conduct with police following the second assault.

Recorder Brown, presiding over the case, told Preston Crown Court she served as an officer in the British army and felt it was important to tell the court for the sake of transparency, but it was decided she would continue with the proceedings.

Prosecuting. Joe Hart said: "The brief circumstances are these, that the victim and Mr Stapleton had been in a relationship for about 10 months.

"It's described as an incredibly intense relationship.

"She reports that Mr Stapleton can be very aggressive and there had been violent outbursts.

"Indeed his pre sentence report refers to a number of domestic violence fallouts in respect of this and his previous relationships.

On Saturday, April 27, they went out in the afternoon. When they came home at around 7pm she was sitting in the living room watching TV while he was cooking. He came out and was clearly drunk. Initially he put his arms around her as if to give her a hug but began to hurt her.

The court is told he had his arm around her neck and punched her three or four times.

She was screaming and shouting and he managed to pick up her scarf from the armchair, put it around her neck and formed a makeshift ligature.

He then punched her leg - where she had a previous injury.

He continued to tell her he loved her and they made up the next day.

But a second assault took place a few days later.

Mr Hart says: "He again had been drinking. She told him he should calm down to which he replied: "Don't start, I'll kill you and I'll kill your family."

He walked over to her and spat at her three times.

"He went into the kitchen, then came back and again started to hug her but started to punch her to the head.

"Finally she got him to release her by saying she needed the toilet. He said: 'But don't ring the police, you know you'll be sorry if you call the police'.

"He kept repeating words such as 'I'll hurt you, I'll kill you.'"

The court was told he held a steak knife to her face.

When officers arrived he gesticulated towards them, giving them rude signs and shouting he was going to kill them as well.

His defence lawyer, Tom Lord, told the court he had come out of the forces with combat PTSD.

He added: " It's unfortunate servicemen find themselves in these circumstance. Alcohol has been a crutch for him.

"He was a disciplined infantry serviceman. He executed his duty while he was serving very, very well."

He explained he had served in Iraq and had witnessed his CEO killed by an IED.

Recorder Brown said she had to balance his crimes with his troubled background.

She acknowledged he had "little or no support" from the military and added: " Sadly nowadays this is too often an occurrence which has, I've no doubt, left you floundering with no support."

He is sentenced to six months alcohol treatment and 40 rehabilitation days, and was given a restraining order for five years.