Former soldier choked victim with dog collar and hit him over the head with a candle holder in drunken attack at house in Leeds

A former soldier choked a man with a dog collar and struck him over the head with a candle holder during a drunken assault.

Monday, 20th September 2021, 4:45 pm

John Swindells was arrested after police were called to a violent disturbance at a house in Beeston.

Leeds Crown Court heard police went to a house on Cross Flatts Drive shortly after midnight on August 5 this year.

Hannah Turner, prosecuting, said officers went to the property and saw Swindells running from the scene in a drunken state.

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Cross Flatts Drive, Beeston.

Witnesses later described how the defendant had been drinking at the property with two friends.

They said he became aggressive before hitting one of the men over the head with a candle holder.

He also tied a dog collar around the man's neck and strangled him.

Swindells then assaulted two women who lived next door after they heard the disturbance and went into the house.

They described how they went into the house and saw Swindells standing over the victim holding a weapon.

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Swindells, 31, of Bardon Grove, Armley, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and two counts of common assault.

Andrew Coleman, mitigating, said Swindells' life had been blighted by alcohol abuse.

Mr Coleman said Swindells had served with distinction for three years with the army in Northern Ireland and had been diagnosed with PTSD.

The barrister said: "He has a problem with drugs and alcohol that makes him act out of character and not representative of what he is ordinarily like."

References were provided by Leeds City Council and St George's Crypt, where Swindells has been working as a charity volunteer.

The court heard he had also attended a rehabilitation programme.

Swindells was made the subject of an 18-month community order.

He must take part in a six-month alcohol treatment requirement and complete 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

Recorder Jeremy Barnett said: "You have to know that there will come a time that, despite your good service, if you carry on like this you will have to go to prison.

"It is up to you to deal with your own demons. No one else can do it for you."