13 September 2023

Mechanic choked woman unconscious after getting into fight over Xbox

| Albert McKnight
Supreme Court

Thomas Lynsley choked a woman after they got into an argument over an Xbox. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

An argument over an Xbox video game console escalated into a mechanic choking a woman unconscious in an attack that was so severe she thought she might die.

Thomas Lynsley connected to the ACT Supreme Court over an audio-visual link to hear his sentencing on Tuesday (12 September).

Acting Justice Peter Berman said the then-20-year-old had been at the woman’s home in February 2022 and was collecting his belongings when he grabbed an Xbox.

She told him the gaming console was hers and they had an argument over who it belonged to.

Lynsley then took the woman into a room and choked her on a bed. He walked away, but they continued to argue, so he grabbed her by her throat and pushed her up against a wall.

She blacked out. A few seconds later, she regained consciousness on the ground, finding he was still choking her.

She thought she was going to die and told him she couldn’t breathe. He released her and she fled her home.

“Tom strangled me and tried to kill me,” she told someone shortly afterwards.

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Acting Justice Berman said photos showed the bruises around her neck. He also said Lynsley was arrested a few days later and spent two days in custody before being granted bail.

He said Lynsley must have used considerable force as the woman couldn’t breathe and noted he had only pleaded guilty to the attack three days before his trial was supposed to start, which meant his plea had limited utilitarian value.

“This is a serious example of a serious offence,” he said.

“All this simply because they were arguing over who owned the Xbox.”

But he said the now-21-year-old had “turned his life around” and was a significantly different person from the one he was in Canberra.

He was born in the ACT, had a difficult childhood and since the attack had moved to Queensland to be with his family.

He had been diagnosed with ADHD and works full-time as a mechanic in that state.

“He said he’s not proud of his actions and does not want to repeat them,” Acting Justice Berman said.

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He said the gravity of Lynsley’s conduct was such that only a jail sentence was appropriate, but he could not give him an intensive corrections order as he lives in Queensland and thought it would interfere with this rehabilitation if he returned to Canberra.

Also, he thought full-time custody would be detrimental to his health. This meant he would choose “the least-worst option”, the acting justice said.

Lynsley pleaded guilty to and was convicted of choking rendering a person insensible/unconscious.

He was sentenced to 16 months’ jail, fully suspended for a good behaviour order for that period.

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