24 January 2023

'We're both gonna die tonight': Man gets more than four years' jail for strangling woman

| Albert McKnight

A jury had found 46-year-old Benjamin Paul Day guilty of attacking a woman. Photo: Albert McKnight.

A man has been jailed for attacking a woman and telling her, “We’re both gonna die tonight”, when she tried to call for help.

She had been at Benjamin Paul Day’s house one night in September 2021 when he started muttering words like, “I hate you, I hate you”, before squeezing her neck.

The force had been “like a five” out of 10, she said, and she considered it to be “just like a warning”.

Day later started telling her to “get out”, but also attempted to stop her when she tried to by grabbing her from behind, sending them tumbling through his front door.

He grabbed her around her neck and tried to pull her back towards the house while she was on the ground, using so much pressure she couldn’t breathe.

The woman tried to shout for help when he changed his position and thought she saw a light turn on across the road.

“That’s it. You’re fucked. I am dragging you back inside right now, and you are dead. The police are coming. We’re both gonna die tonight,” Day told her.

But he ran back inside, while she fled across the road and neighbours called the police.

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The attack resulted in bruising to the woman’s neck, a hoarse voice and difficulty swallowing.

A jury in an ACT Supreme Court trial found Day guilty of two counts of choking, suffocating or strangulating and one count of making a threat to kill before he was sentenced by Justice Geoffrey Kennett in December 2022, according to sentencing remarks published earlier this month.

Justice Kennett had also found Day guilty of a charge of damaging property, as he had broken the woman’s phone.

The woman wrote a statement for the court, saying she spent three months in hotels and motels after Day was granted bail and the frequent moves resulted in poor sleep, the need to dispose of belongings and a strain on her relationship with her daughter who “lost her home” because she had to move from place to place with her mother.

Using emergency accommodation also meant her pets spent several weeks in kennels and catteries.

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“It could hardly be cause for any surprise for the offender that the victim felt as if she needed to live in a location unknown to him and that hardship would result from this move,” Justice Kennett said.

Day, a father of two, had worked for towing and tool sharpening companies and told the author of a court report that he did not commit the offences.

He was convicted and sentenced to four-and-a-half years’ jail with a non-parole period of two years and 10 months, which means he can be released in January 2025.

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