Dad ‘grabbed his ex by the throat’

Wigan And Leigh Magistrates' Court
Wigan And Leigh Magistrates' Court
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A dad grabbed his former girlfriend by the throat as their young son watched from a car, a court heard.

Dale Ratcliffe, 27, of Holden Road, Leigh, pushed Ella Bristow over in an altercation with her and her new partner.

Wigan And Leigh Magistrates’ Court heard Ratcliffe was in a four-year relationship with Ella Bristow, but they separated three years ago and shared custody of their son.

Her new partner Ryan Jones drove her to Ratcliffe’s house at 6pm on January 17 to collect the child.

She went to get her son and walked back to Mr Jones’s car.

Steve Woodman, prosecuting, said: “She then looked back at the house and could see Dale was sticking his middle finger up at her. In response, Ella did the same back.”

She saw his new girlfriend at a window laughing and went back to challenge her.

The court heard Ratcliffe grabbed Ms Bristow, causing her to stumble, and then grabbed her by the throat, while his other hand was clenched in a fist.

Mr Jones got out of his car and Ratcliffe went towards him in a “threatening manner” and shouted abuse.

Ms Bristow tried to get between them, but Ratcliffe roughly pushed her into a nearby bush.

The couple managed to get in the car and drive away, the court heard. Ms Bristow suffered a stiff neck and soreness to her face, but Mr Jones was not injured.

Ratcliffe had denied assault by beating and common assault, but later changed his plea to guilty.

Representing himself in the dock, he explained why he had changed his plea and apologised to magistrates for “wasting” their time.

Christopher Hallett, chairman of the bench, sentenced him to a 12-month community order.

Ratcliffe was also ordered to serve a 20-day rehabilitation requirement and 120 hours of unpaid work.

He must also pay compensation of £100 to Ms Bristow and £50 to Mr Jones, £500 costs and £60 victim surcharge.