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Crime Pembrokeshire

Man chokes ex-partner after funeral and receives suspended sentence

65-year-old Stenson denies the charges

A DISTRESSING incident unfolded when Darryan Edwards, a 29-year-old resident of Jury Lane, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, assaulted his ex-partner following a family funeral. In a drunken state after consuming an alarming 20 pints of alcohol, Edwards arrived uninvited at his former girlfriend’s residence. Initially allowed to stay, he quickly became abusive and violent towards her. The altercation escalated, with Edwards slapping and choking the woman, eventually putting her in a headlock. It is important to note that Edwards was already under a community order for a prior assault on the same victim.

During the court proceedings at Swansea Crown Court, David Singh, the prosecutor, recounted the events that transpired on March 2 of this year. Edwards arrived at his ex-partner’s address in an intoxicated and upset state after attending the funeral. Despite her reservations, she granted him permission to sleep in the spare room. However, Edwards entered her room later that night and unleashed his aggression. He backhanded her across the face before gripping her throat and subsequently placing her in a headlock.

Due to Edwards’ impaired state, the victim managed to push him away, quickly seizing the opportunity to grab her daughter and car keys, and escape through the door. Frustrated by her departure, the defendant hurled derogatory insults, yelling, “Go on then, you fat ugly ****.” Fearing for her safety, the victim promptly contacted the police, leading to Edwards’ arrest at the scene. The following day, during his interview with officers, Edwards admitted to consuming 20 pints of alcohol but claimed to have no recollection of assaulting his ex-partner. Nonetheless, he asserted that such behavior was beyond his character. Following his interview, Edwards was released on bail under the condition that he refrain from contacting his victim.

In a subsequent incident the following month, Edwards appeared at his ex-partner’s cousin’s house after the two women had enjoyed a night out together. His arrival was marked by an outburst of verbal abuse, followed by him punching the front door and damaging the cousin’s car by kicking off the wing mirror. In a relentless pursuit, Edwards proceeded to make over 50 calls to his ex-partner, attempting to establish contact.

When Edwards stood in the dock for his sentencing, he had already pleaded guilty to common assault, strangulation, criminal damage, and harassment. His history revealed six prior convictions for 13 offenses, which included assaults and criminal damage committed against the same victim. Notably, in 2022, he had received a community order for a previous attack, during which he slapped, punched, and threw a baby gate at his ex-partner.

Hannah George, representing Edwards, acknowledged that her client’s life had taken a troubled turn following the death of his nephew in February. She argued that he had resorted to alcohol as a coping mechanism and emphasized his efforts to seek voluntary assistance from the Dyfed Drug and Alcohol Service. George further highlighted that Edwards co-parents two children from a previous relationship and expressed his deep desire to prevent a recurrence of the violence he witnessed growing up.

Judge Geraint Walters, appalled by Edwards’ actions, described them as “an ugly piece of offending.” The judge noted that the defendant committed these acts while already subject to a court order for a previous incident of domestic violence. Although the sentencing guidelines prescribed a term of less than two years, Judge Walters considered the possibility of suspending the sentence, believing there to be a realistic chance of rehabilitation. However, he sternly warned Edwards that he had exhausted all opportunities for leniency. The judge’s words were unequivocal: “Breach this order and you can book yourself a place in Swansea prison. There will be no further chances. I cannot be plainer with you. You have used up all your lives.”

After receiving a one-third discount for his guilty pleas, Edwards was sentenced to 10 months in prison. The judge also revoked the existing community order, imposing an additional two-month prison sentence to be served consecutively, resulting in a total of 12 months in prison. However, the sentence was suspended for two years. In addition, Edwards was ordered to complete a rehabilitation course, attend a building better relationships course, and perform 200 hours of unpaid work. To ensure the victim’s safety, a five-year restraining order was issued, prohibiting Edwards from contacting his former partner.