21 March 2021

Wheelchair-bound man fled police after allegedly assaulting girlfriend

| Albert McKnight
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ACT Law Courts Photo: Michelle Kroll Region Media

A 31-year-old man is charged with assault and strangulation offences after alleged incidents from earlier this year. Photo: File.

A Canberra man who must use a wheelchair while he recovers from a car crash reportedly fled from police after allegedly assaulting his girlfriend.

Court documents show in February, the 31-year-old became angry after seeing a message from his ex-partner on his girlfriend’s phone. He then grabbed the phone in an attempt to read the messages between them.

When she tried to take the phone back, he allegedly kicked her in her chest and said, “Don’t touch it, I’m still reading it”, before smashing the phone on the ground. Later, he held her against the wall and strangled her for about a minute before pushing her onto a bed and punching a hole in the bedroom door.

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The woman had repeatedly asked him to leave the house, but he pushed her onto the bed and strangled her again before threatening to pull out a cheek piercing. She moved her head from side to side to avoid his hand as it approached her cheek, then he put a pillow over her face and said, “Shut the f–k up”.

He later allegedly pulled hair out of her head and punched her in the face.

Later that day, when police arrived at the house, he allegedly closed the door on them before walking into the backroom and fleeing through the backyard.

He was later arrested.

The man was granted bail before police said he again strangled his girlfriend earlier this week. She told police: “My eyes went white and I couldn’t see anything; I may have passed out.”

When she regained consciousness, she punched him in the chest to defend herself, but she said he strangled her again before punching her in the face.

He also allegedly poured a can of Red Bull on her before crumpling it and throwing it at her.

Police have now laid numerous charges against the man, including six counts of assault, five counts of strangulation, two counts of damaging property and one count of using a personal mobility device on a length of road.

The 31-year-old applied for bail in the ACT Magistrates Court on Friday (19 March). His lawyer told the court her client was in a wheelchair due to a car crash in 2020 which resulted in “significant injuries”.

“He can take a few steps but spends most of the time in the wheelchair,” she said.

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She said being in a wheelchair would make custody “particularly difficult” for her client, who spoke up over the audio-visual link to say: “I’m learning how to walk again, your honour.”

But the prosecutor reiterated the facts in the court documents, saying when police visited him in February, he ran from them through other people’s backyards.

Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker refused bail, saying she could not be satisfied that bail conditions would ensure the complainant’s safety.

Pleas have not yet been entered. He will next appear in court later this month.

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