Choke husband spared jail sentence


By Paul Thornton

A DAD who strangled his wife with her own scarf and threatened to kill her during a furious bust-up over cash has escaped a jail sentence.

John Harper’s terrified daughter had to pull him off of his wife Julie as he throttled her with the piece of clothing in their Edinburgh home.

The 39-year-old launched the vicious attack on Mrs Harper after she came home from work to find him boozing and a row broke out.

Mrs Harper, 37, was left struggling for breath and suffered pain and redness to her neck as a result of the assault.

Police were called in and arrested Harper who later admitted assault. Harper was given a probation order after he had not guilty pleas to two charges of breach of the peace accepted by the Crown.

Fiscal depute John Kirk told the court how Mrs Harper had returned from work during the mid to late morning on December 3, last year.

Mrs Harper found her husband drinking in their Castlepark Glade home and a row broke out over money.

Mr Kirk said: “There was an argument about money. Harper had been drinking most of the morning and, as so often happens, the argument degenerated into violence.

“The catalyst seems to have been when Mrs Harper knocked over a glass the accused had been drinking out of.

“He followed her into the kitchen and pushed her causing her to fall over.”

Mr Kirk said Harper then got on top of his wife and used her own scarf to strangle her before her muffled cries were heard by their daughter.

He said: “He was threatening her that he was going to kill her and took hold of the scarf she was wearing and compressed her neck with it.

“She was crying out for held and this was heard by her daughter who was upstairs. She came down and pushed Harper off Mrs Harper.”

Police were then called in, along with an ambulance to treat the gasping victim, and Harper was arrested.

Mr Kirk said Mrs Harper suffered pain and redness to her neck as well as temporary shortness of breath but there had been no permanent damage.

Harper’s solicitor, Paul Haran, said his client had now reconciled with his wife and a report into their relationship showed that it was an “isolated incident”.

Sheriff Nigel Morrison QC placed Harper on an 18-month probation order with a condition to attend a domestic violence group.