Valentine’s Day row saw wife in headlock

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A security guard put his wife in a headlock on Valentine’s Day during an argument in their kitchen about Facebook.

Paul Defries (44), of Jubilee Close, Sutton St James, didn’t injure wife Colleen, but she complained to the police.

Nick Todd, prosecuting, told Boston magistrates: “I think it’s right to say had this not been a domestic violence case the police might well have cautioned him for that, but such are the protocols in place today a prosecution was deemed necessary.”

Mr Todd said the couple had been married for 27 years and Mrs Defries was sitting at the back of the court.

He said they had an argument, which started off about Facebook and then escalated.

“During that argument, Mr Defries got hold of her in a headlock, causing no visible injury, but she complained to the police and he was interviewed and made some admissions,” said Mr Todd.

Solicitor Roger Lowther, mitigating, said Defries had worked as a security guard for the last two years and a conviction on the common assault charge could well put his employment in jeopardy.

He said: “I think at it’s highest this is a case of, dare I say, something or nothing. It’s the lower end of the assault scale – as you’ve heard there were no injuries at all – and I understand that a retraction statement has been made by Mr Defries’s wife.”
Mr Lowther said domestic violence cases are now always charged.

“There’s no flexibility and – no doubts – there’s no commonsense applied to these cases at all,” said Mr Lowther. “It was a short-lived, isolated incident within 27 years of marriage and no injury caused.”

Presiding magistrate Andrew Leonard said the offence “had to be marked”. He said: “It’s just a shame after 27 years that triviality took control over something on Facebook.”

Defries, who pleaded guilty, was conditionally discharge for a year and must pay £85 costs with a £15 victim surcharge.