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Stressed out soldier almost killed partner

A SOLDIER with an “exemplary” military record faces jail after he almost killed his partner after a night out in Shetland.

Lerwick Sheriff Court heard that 39 year old Jonathan Ladley had been suffering from the after effect of fighting in war zones when he attacked the woman last month.

Appearing from custody yesterday (Wednesday), Ladley admitted serious assault and sentence was deferred for four weeks for psychiatric and other reports.

The court heard how his partner thought she was going to die in the early hours of 6 February when Ladley repeatedly struck her on the head, pushed her to the ground and throttled her.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie told the court the initial charge of attempted murder had been reduced to one of assault “to her injury and to the endangerment of her life”, and added that the “complainer genuinely thought she was dying”.

He said the couple had spent the evening in town in an attempt to reconcile their relationship, when Ladley became suspicious that his partner had taken a substance other than alcohol.

Back at her home address in Lerwick, he asked her again if she had taken anything other than alcohol, which she denied.

He said that he could kill her and asked her if she wanted him to kill her.

Mr Mackenzie said that after a short period of calm Ladley suddenly jumped up and without any warning struck her in the middle of the chest, pushed her to the ground, grabbed her by the throat and squeezed it until he thought she was lifeless.

However after a short time she recovered and fled into the bathroom from where she alerted her daughter via text message who then called the police.

She had to spend two nights in hospital treating severe bruising to her throat and ribs as well as swelling to both her eyes.

Mr Mackenzie told the court that Ladley was “frank and forthright” when police arrived and said that he wanted the complainer dead.

The procurator fiscal added that Ladley had an “exemplary army record” from fighting in battlefields abroad. “It appears that he is suffering from that, not physically, but mentally and emotionally”, he added.

Defence solicitor Tommy Allan said his client had not offered any kind of rational explanation for his behaviour. “He accepts his responsibility and will be sentenced for it,” he said.

Sheriff Graeme Napier said he needed psychiatric background information to establish if Ladley’s conduct could be linked to the after effects of war.

He deferred sentence until 21 April for reports. There was no application for bail and Ladley was remanded in custody.