Squeezed woman’s neck so hard she couldn’t breathe

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A Derry man has been jailed for an attack on his ex-partner’s mother in which she feared she was going to be killed.

Derry Crown Court heard on Tuesday that since the attack the woman has had to take security measures for fear of any repeat.

Joseph Martin Healy (27), of Hollymount Park in Derry admitted one charge of attempted grievous bodily harm with intent which occurred on October 22, 2013.

The court heard that the defendant had been in a relationship with a woman and on the day in question the woman’s mother saw Healy in her backyard at 8am.

Healy then entered the house and the woman threw a cup of tea at him but he grabbed her by the neck and squeezed it so hard she couldn’t breathe.

She could not cry out as he was squeezing so hard.

The attack ended when the woman’s daughter came down the stairs and shouted at Healy who ran off.

A few hours later Healy was arrested at the A&E department of Altnagelvin Hospital but was deemed unfit to be interviewed.

Passing sentence Judge Philip Babington said that Healy had never in fact been interviewed by police about the incident.

During the preparation of a pre-sentence report Healy said he had no recollection of going to the house.

The woman had inflammation to her neck and had some trouble breathing.

Judge Babington said there was ‘a quite graphic victim impact report’ which outlined the woman’s fears for the future and he said she had had to take measures to enhance her security. The judge said it was ‘an exceptionally worrying case as Healy had never been able to give an explanation for what he did.’

The defendant had psychiatric issues and Judge Babington said he had claimed he heard voices telling him to attack his former partner’s family.

Prior to the attack Healy had undergone day care treatment and the day before this incident had been released from that treatment.

He sentenced Healy to three years in prison, half of which he will seerve. The judge also said that upon release Healy has to observe a curfew for the first 90 days.

He went on: “The highest level of supervision should be given to this defendant.”

A restraining order was also imposed for a period of five years forbidding Healy going within 300 metres of the injured party.