Spalding man charged with new offence of non-fatal strangulation

Benjamin Flatters denied the charged at Lincoln Magistrates Court.

A man from Lincolnshire has been charged with non-fatal strangulation in one of the first cases of its kind in the country.

Benjamin Flatters, 31, of Dorchester Road, Spalding, was charged under legislation introduced last month following an alleged assault which was reported to police on 23 June.

He pleaded not guilty when he appeared at Lincoln Magistrates Court, but admitted three other charges of criminal damage to property, threats to damage property and failure to comply with notification requirements of the sex offenders register.

He was remanded into custody and will face trial on the strangulation charge at a later date. 

Non-fatal strangulation became an offence under the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, which was introduced on 7 June.

It carries a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment.

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The law was changed because victims of strangulation may be left with little or no physical marks, meaning offenders would previously have faced a lesser charge of actual bodily harm or common assault.

Kate Brown, lead for domestic abuse prosecutions at the Crown Prosecution Service, said last month: "Sadly, because this type of offending may leave no physical mark the serious nature of it has not always been appreciated.

"We understand the devastating life-long effects domestic abuse can have on victims."

Det Insp Richard Nethercott, of Lincolnshire Police, said: "The new legislation is potentially life changing and lifesaving. If found guilty of non-fatal strangulation, a perpetrator will face up to five years in prison.

"Along with non-fatal suffocation, it’s a form of abuse that we sadly sometimes see in a domestic setting, where a perpetrator will use it to intimidate and control their victim. It’s terrifying to endure and incredibly dangerous.  

"The new legislation is an important step forwards in tackling violence against women and girls."