Boyfriend jailed for knife attack

A JEALOUS boyfriend who held a knife to his girlfriend’s throat in a booze-fuelled attack has been jailed for 18 months.

Jason Wassell, 24, punched, bit and put his hands around the neck of 25-year-old Gemma Richards after accusing her of having an affair during a row at their flat in Castleford.

Sentencing him for assault at Leeds Crown Court last Friday, Judge Rodney Grant said: “You pressed at her windpipe so she had difficulty in breathing. That must have been terrifying for her.”

Jonathan Devlin, prosecuting, told the court Wassell and Miss Richards had been drinking at a number of pubs when they returned to their flat on August 28 last year.

He said: “The defendant became quite aggressive and agitated, pacing up and down the room, and accused her of having another relationship.”

Wassell walked to the kitchen and grabbed a kitchen knife, which he held to Miss Richards’ throat. He then put his arms around her neck and “squeezed her windpipe” – making it difficult for her to breathe.

Mr Devlin said: “She hit out to free herself and punched him to his head. She remembers seeing blood around his ears.

“He then punched and hit her to her body.”

The court heard Wassell kept her in the flat and wouldn’t allow her to leave, but she was able to flee after claiming she needed the toilet.

Miss Richards ran to a takeaway on nearby Albion Street, but Wassell confronted her and tried to tug her out of the shop by her hair.

A customer tried to intervene saying: “What do you think you are doing?” but Wassell replied: “What’s it got to do with you?”

The owner of the takeaway called the police and Miss Richard was taken to hospital with injuries, including cuts to her face which needed stitches. Wassell was arrested a short time later.

When interviewed by police he said the pair had a few “issues” regarding trust and fidelity and had started “scrapping”.

Wassell, of Albion Street, Castleford, admitted assault at an earlier hearing.

Simon Batiste, mitigating, said his client had no previous convictions and had been suffering from paranoia after taking cannabis and cocaine.

Miss Richards had made an initial complaint to the police, but later retracted her statement.

Mr Batiste said she had visited him in prison three times a week while he had been remanded in custody.

Sentencing, the judge told Wassell the offence he had committed was “very serious”.

He added: “It was a prolonged assault on your victim. It must have been terrifying for her when it was you she was being threatened by.”