Richmond man jailed after biting, strangling and punching girlfriend in York hotel

Ben Garner. Photo: North Yorkshire Police.

A man who bit, strangled and repeatedly punched his partner has been jailed for 20 months after he admitted the vicious attack.

The attack by Ben Garner, 32, only stopped when a guest staying at the same hotel as the couple took her into her room.

The defendant left the victim with injuries all over her body following the drink-fuelled attack in which she thought she was going to die, York Crown Court heard.

Garner, who was living with the named victim at the time, flew into a rage during a night out in York after he accused her of cheating on him.

Prosecutor Victoria Barker said the incident occurred in November last year as the couple, who had been in a relationship for two years, were walking back to their hotel.

Garner was calling the victim all manner of vile names and then punched her in the back, before biting her behind her the ear.

The barrage of verbal abuse continued as they entered the hotel, where “the accusations continued and (Garner) was telling her (that his behaviour) was her fault”, added Ms Barker.

The victim went to bed to avoid any further arguments, but Garner then asked for the passcode to her mobile phone.

“She said ‘no’ and it was at this point that he stood over her while she was in bed and used both his hands to grab her throat and squeeze her neck,” said Ms Barker.

“While holding her neck with one hand, he punched her with the other hand to her head five-to-six times, contacting with her face and head.

“While doing so, he was shouting, ‘Give me the passcode or I won’t let it stop’. She said at this point (she thought) he was going to kill her and (she) somehow managed to get her words out (while being strangled) to tell him the passcode to her telephone.”

As Garner continued to aim a volley of verbal abuse at the victim, he punched her another two or three times, at which point she got out of bed and said she was going to the toilet.

Once out of bed, she tried to escape through the door, but Garner grabbed her and tried to drag her back inside.

“She was scared for her life and screamed,” said Ms Barker.

A woman staying in the next room heard her screams and went to her assistance. She took her inside her own room and called police.

Garner was arrested and charged with intentional strangulation and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He ultimately admitted both offences and appeared for sentence via video link today after being remanded in custody.

Ms Barker said Garner was on bail at the time of the incident with instructions not to contact or approach the victim following a previous alleged attack just a few days before the assault in the hotel room.

Police took no further action on the initial alleged assault, but just two days later he got in touch with her, started behaving in a “respectful” and gentlemanly manner and persuaded her to go for a night out in York with him.

However, during the night out, his demeanour changed, he became aggressive and made groundless accusations that she had been cheating on him.

Ms Barker said the attack had had a profound effect on the victim who suffered a bloody nose, a cut to her lip, bruising to her face, back and hands, and reddening to her ear. She suffered injuries “all over” her neck and forehead and to the side of her body.

The victim said she had been left with a lump and scarring where her tooth had gone through her lip.

Garner, of Hillside, Fillingham, Lincolnshire, but previously of Richmond, had a previous conviction for theft from the person from December 2022 when he was jailed for 21 months.

Defence barrister Kelleigh Lodge said Garner had an alcohol problem and resorted to booze when he was released from his last prison sentence in June last year.

She said that Garner now fully accepted the relationship was over and intended to return to his home city of Lincoln when he was released from the inevitable jail sentence.

Judge Sean Morris condemned Garner for what he branded a “terrible, prolonged assault on your partner”.

He said that if it wasn’t for the public-spirited woman in the neighbouring hotel room who went to the aid of the victim “heaven knows what might have (happened)”.

Garner will serve half of the 20-month jail sentence behind bars before being released on prison licence.