Stroud man ‘choked and punched’ ex-girlfriend in her home

A 37-year-old Stroud man repeatedly punched his ex-girlfriend in the face after breaking into her flat while subject to a suspended prison sentence, Gloucester Crown Court heard on Tuesday.

John Munson, 37, of Gloucester Road, Stroud pleaded guilty to common assault on his former partner and to another “brutal attack” on a man who hit him with a gym weight.

Munson received a nine month jail term but was released from the dock because he had already spent longer than that in custody awaiting sentence.

The court heard Munson choked and beat his former partner after breaking into her flat through her kitchen window on April 18, 2021 and falling asleep on the sofa.

Prosecutor Tammy McFarlane said the woman “tried to get Munson to leave but he pinned her against a wall, then punched her before squeezing her throat so hard that she couldn’t breathe.

“He then repeatedly hit her face and her eye which resulted in a severe black eye.”

The court then heard about another assault on January 8.

The prosecutor said that during an ongoing dispute, a Mr Mark Franklin went out looking for Munson and hit him in the back of the head with a gym weight.

“Munson retaliated by punching Mr Franklin full on in the face, making him fall to the ground,” Ms McFarlane said.

Munson then repeatedly punched Mr Franklin’s face and fractured his eye socket, leading to him being taken to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, the court heard.

“This was more than self-defence, it was a brutal attack,” said Ms McFarlane.

Munson admitted a charge of assault causing actual bodily harm.

The court heard that Munson has a history of low level violence, with at least one previous offence being committed in a domestic situation.

Lloyd Jenkins, defending, said Munson was a “complex and complicated individual” who has anger management issues and an alcohol addiction, but while in custody he had detoxed, addressed his anger management and “excelled as a chef.”

Mr Jenkins added Munson regretted his “excessive use of self-defence” and “has shown significant remorse.”

Judge Lawrie told Munson: “This has not been an easy sentencing decision as you are a test to the system. I’ve come up with a sentence that will punish you as well as helping you.

“For all the gloom in your life, there is still something within you that sparks anger issues. This needs addressing for the safety of yourself and others.

He added: “If life had been a bit different you would have been able to use this skills by gaining employment in the catering industry.”

The judge said he was not going to activate the suspended sentence, during which Munson committed both assaults, as he felt it would be unjust to do so.

Judge Lawrie sentenced Munson to nine months in prison, but because he had served more than that sentence while on remand he was released from the dock.

He also imposed a five-year restraining order on Munson not to contact his former partner.

Munson was additionally fined £30 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge.

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