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Man jailed for trying to strangle his wife: 'Sorry, I need to get rid of you'

Michael Charlton attempted to strangle wife Samantha with a silk scarf as she lay sleeping in bed

A man who attempted to strangle his wife of 10 years while she lay in bed sleeping has been jailed.

Samantha Charlton was woken by her husband Michael kneeling on her chest and trying to strangle her with a silk scarf, the Sunderland Echo reported. 

He stared straight at her and said, “sorry, I need to get rid of you” during the attack at the couple’s Sunderland home in February.

Mrs Charlton, 40, managed to push him away but told police she had believed she was going to die, the newspaper reported.

She succeeded in escaping the house and called the police from the home of a friend who lived nearby.

When officers arrived they found Mr Charlton lying on the bed crying. He said: “I’ve tried to murder my wife; I put the scarf around her neck to do away with her.”

The 43-year-old, who has a previous conviction for threatening to kill a former partner in 2001, admitted threatening to kill his wife and assault.

Judge Simon Hickey jailed him for two years and eight months at Newcastle Crown Court.

The judge said: “What aggravates the seriousness of this case even further is you threatened to kill another partner in the past.

“The concern of the court is, in reading the reports and looking at your record, whether on some future date, under similar pressures, you may again snap and do something similar or perhaps something worse and carry out the threat,” he said.

The court heard that the couple had attended a funeral on the day of the attack and that Mrs Charlton had been asleep in bed when her husband retuned home drunk.

Prosecutor Simon Worthy told the court: “She woke up to find the defendant in the bedroom. She looked up and found the defendant kneeling on her chest, staring into her eyes.

“She described his eyes as looking wide.

“He had a purple coloured scarf, a present from his mother to her, in his hands.

“He had the ends of the scarf around his hands and had a strong grip of it.

“He then wrapped the scarf around her neck and said: ‘I’m sorry, I have to get rid of you’. He was looking straight at her. She said she assumed he was going to kill her.”

Robin Patton, defending, said that the couple were in financial difficulties when the incident occurred and that Mr Charlton had failed to resolve issues in his past.

Mr Patton said: “All the pressures got too much for him.”

He added that Mr Charlton wants to repair his relationship with his wife. 

In 2001 Mr Charlton received a 12 month sentence suspended for two years after he admitted making threats to kill along with a series of other charges.

He had become violent after another wife left him for a woman.