'Callous' Leeds bully held pillow against partner's face as terrified children called police

A “callous” Leeds bully smothered his partner until she passed out in a brutal attack witnessed by her children.
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Luke Muscroft, 31, held a pillow against the victim’s face and tried to stop her from breathing by covering her mouth with his hands.

The assault left the mum-of-four with lasting health issues, while her traumatised young children say they’ve been suffering from nightmares.

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Police were called to the house in Horsforth where the assault happened on June 29, but Muscroft quickly became aggressive towards officers. They were forced to use an incapacitant spray on him as he refused to be handcuffed.

Luke Muscroft, 31, of St James Walk, was sentenced to 16 months' imprisonment after pleading guilty to assault by beating, intentional suffocation, intentional strangulation and making threats to kill at Leeds Crown Court on November 1. Photo: National World.Luke Muscroft, 31, of St James Walk, was sentenced to 16 months' imprisonment after pleading guilty to assault by beating, intentional suffocation, intentional strangulation and making threats to kill at Leeds Crown Court on November 1. Photo: National World.
Luke Muscroft, 31, of St James Walk, was sentenced to 16 months' imprisonment after pleading guilty to assault by beating, intentional suffocation, intentional strangulation and making threats to kill at Leeds Crown Court on November 1. Photo: National World.

Muscroft, of St James Walk, later pleaded guilty to assault by beating, intentional suffocation, intentional strangulation and making threats to kill. He was sentenced at Leeds Crown Court on November 1.

Emma Handley, for the prosecution, explained that the violent attack followed an argument over content found on Muscroft’s phone. She said: “The complainant decided to look through the defendant’s phone and noticed there were images of women in their underwear.

“She confronted him and asked if he was ‘some kind of gone-wrong paedo’, but she had meant to use the word ‘pervert’. She tried to rectify her mistake, but this immediately angered him.”

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Muscroft grabbed a pillow and pushed her onto the sofa, holding it against her face as her one-year-old child was present. Hearing the commotion, another child rushed downstairs and found her mum in shock.

Muscroft later put his hands over the victim’s mouth to stop her from breathing and she lost consciousness. When she regained consciousness, she pleaded with him to let her go. She later said she thought she was going to be killed.

A child upstairs was attempting to call the police, but Muscroft snatched the phone and started punching it.

After the attack, the victim was left with red marks to her neck, headaches and chest pain. She said in a statement that her children now “carry a burden of trauma and fear”.

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Defending, Ismael Uddin argued that Muscroft is remorseful and understands his actions were wrong. The 31-year-old was crying as he appeared in court via video link, holding his head in his hands.

Judge Tom Bayliss KC said: “It is plain to me that you are feeling very sorry today, but whether that is sorry for yourself or sorry for what you did to your wife, only you know.

"This sustained assault must have been terrifying for her. I can only give you one sentence and that is an immediate prison sentence. It is far too serious a matter for me to suspend it.”

He added: “When one of the children ran downstairs to see her mother being attacked by her father, you told her not to use her child as protection. What a callous thing to say.”

The judge sentenced Muscroft to 16 months’ imprisonment.