Suspended jail sentence for Ottery man who threatened to slit girlfriend’s throat

Exeter Magistrates Court

Exeter Magistrates Court - Credit: Archant

An Ottery man threatened to slit his girlfriend’s throat and caused nearly £10,000-worth of damage to a car he took without permission, a court heard.

Ashley Kenneth Black, 35, admitted to crashing two cars in the same month after he got behind the wheel and drove without a licence, insurance and while over the alcohol limit.

During the first incident, he crashed into another person’s car and drove off and on the second he took a car without the owner’s consent and wrote it off, causing injuries to himself and nearly £10,000-worth of damages to the vehicle.

Black, an alcoholic, appeared at Exeter Magistrates’ Court and also pleaded guilty to a third incident where he threatened to slit his girlfriend’s throat in front of a three-year-old boy she was babysitting.

Father-of-one Black avoided jail and was sentenced to 20 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, as well as 24 months’ disqualification from driving and a 12-month community order with 20 days of rehabilitation activities. He was also ordered to complete an alcohol treatment programme and pay £715 in fines and compensation.

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Prosecuting, Miss Lynsey Baker said the first incident happened in August when Black drove a Vauxhall Vectra from London and crashed it into a Ford Fiesta in Hounslow before driving off.

When police tracked him down and breathalysed Black, they found he had 99 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

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Miss Baker said Black also took a white Toyota without the owner’s permission in the same month and drove to an ex-partner’s house in Seaton.

But, en-route, Black crashed and wrote the car off in Colyton. He was taken to hospital and tests showed he had 191 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.

Black, formerly of Longdogs Lane, Ottery, and now of Exeter, also pleaded guilty to using threatening behaviour towards his girlfriend of nine months.

Miss Baker said Black had been sober for three months when he relapsed the week before the third incident in June, 2017.

The couple were babysitting a child and had gone to Exmouth beach, but Black began drinking and was acting drunk by 9.30am.

The court heard Black ended up hurling abuse and swearing at his girlfriend in front of the child. When Black’s girlfriend refused to make up with him, he threatened to ‘knock her out’ and ‘slit her and her mum’s throat’.

In a statement read out to the court, Black’s girlfriend said she was scared he would ‘batter her’ if he found out she had spoken to the police.

She added Black would always call her fat and would stop her from seeing her friends, which ‘ruined her confidence’.

The statement added: “I feel terrible and can’t explain how scared I am - I don’t want him in my life anymore.”

Since the incident, Black’s girlfriend said she no longer feels the same way and wants to resume the relationship.

Black, who works for a manufacturing company, said: “I just need help with my drinking. Anyone who knows me knows I am like the nicest guy - it is just the drink.

“I fully admit to what I did and feel bad about it. I haven’t been in prison for seven years and it is a total shock.”

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