Homeless thug choked Leeds prostitute with woolly hat and said she deserved it for being sex worker

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A “despicable” homeless thug strangled a Leeds sex worker he had befriended and stuffed a hat in her mouth to stop her from screaming.

Daniel Rutter attacked the woman in her own flat in Armley after she knocked over his crack pipe, carrying out a sustained assault over many hours in which he punched her, strangled her and then put the woollen garment in her mouth.

The 34-year-old Rutter then told police that the marks to her face had been caused by her falling off a chair and hitting her face after they had sex. A probation report found that he blamed the woman for the attack because she was a sex worker.

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He later admitted charges of ABH, intentional strangulation and intentional suffocation, along with failing to surrender to custody and failing to comply with the sex offenders registers that he was put on last year for indecent exposure.

Daniel Rutter minimalised his offending to probation officers because the victim was a prostitute.Daniel Rutter minimalised his offending to probation officers because the victim was a prostitute.
Daniel Rutter minimalised his offending to probation officers because the victim was a prostitute.

Prosecuting at Leeds Crown Court, Jade Bucklow said the pair had been friends for just two weeks but were not romantically involved when Rutter turned up at her home on Burnsall Gardens on December 18 last year. After accidentally knocking over his pipe, the woman said he “went mental" and began punching her with both fists.

She ran out of the flat, but later returned. Rutter had also left, but he came back and she let him in again, fearful of his actions if she refused. But he then began hitting her again and she began screaming for help. He straddled her and put his hands around her throat, leaving her struggling to breathe. Rutter then grabbed the hat, stuffed it in her mouth and continued to punch her.

At around 6.40am the police arrived having been contacted by an anonymous caller who heard the screams. The victim went to Leeds General Infirmary with bruising and swelling to to her eye, nose and mouth. She declined to give evidence in court and there was no victim impact statement.

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However, the court was heard that Rutter’s attack opened old wounds on her face that she suffered during an attack by another male.

Rutter has 39 convictions for 94 offences. This includes attacking an ex partner last year and having been arrested in East Yorkshire, exposed himself in the back of the police van and made sexual suggestions to a female officer present.

Mitigating, Michael Walsh said that Rutter was realistic that he would receive a jail sentence, having been held on remand in HMP Leeds. He added: “He has complex issues, some of which arise from his mental health situation. He was effectively homeless and using drugs and to a lesser extent, alcohol.”

Judge Robin Mairs described it as a repeated attack on a vulnerable woman in her own home and it was clear Rutter was using drugs.

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Referencing the probation report, he added: “You said she wanted to be strangled and made frequent reference to her being a sex worker. It was degrading. Because she is a sex worker you deem her worthy of the violence inflicted. Your attitude to her is utterly despicable.” He jailed him for 31 months.