Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

Thug Faces Deportation; Man Pleads Guilty to Strangling Girlfriend of 12 Weeks

Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

Thug Faces Deportation; Man Pleads Guilty to Strangling Girlfriend of 12 Weeks

Article excerpt

Byline: Ross Irby ross.irby@news-mail.com.au

"YOU had your hands around her neck, she could easily have died. Just remember that. Just keep your hands off," a judge told Murray James Churcher when sentencing him for strangling a former girlfriend.

"It was a disgraceful, prolonged, cowardly episode of domestic violence carried out in front of a four-year-old child," Judge Terry Martin SC said.

"You have a violent disposition. If you don't pull your head in you will hurt someone very badly. Remember that or you will be spending years in jail."

His sentencing remarks came after Crown prosecutor Sandra Cupina told the District Court at Bundaberg that the 28-year-old Bundaberg man had been in a 12-week "abusive relationship" with the woman, aged 22.

Churcher, a father of three, pleaded guilty to a series of offences: unlawfully choking or strangulation in a domestic relationship on September 22; wilfully damaging a door; assaulting a woman; damaging a mobile phone; wilful damage to a wall; and damaging a window while a prisoner at the jail in Maryborough on October 5.

The New Zealand national now faces likely deportation.

Ms Cupina said the pair had argued after Churcher was drinking alcohol. When it escalated Churcher grabbed her mobile phone and threw it off a balcony.

"She locked herself in a bathroom and took a number of pills in an attempt to commit suicide. He punched a hole through the door, grabbed her around the throat and removed the pills from her mouth," Ms Cupina said.

Churcher later punched a hole in a wall, grabbed the woman and pushed her on to the floor and got on top of her.

"He began strangling her with both hands around her neck interfering with her breathing ... yelling he was going to strangle her until she dies," Ms Cupina said.

Churcher then punched the woman in her mouth causing it to bleed. …

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