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Violent soldier freed to live with victim

A FORMER soldier who nearly killed his girlfriend after a night out in Shetland has been allowed to return to live with her in Lerwick.

On Wednesday Sheriff Graeme Napier put 39 year old Jonathan Ladley on probation for three years after he admitted assaulting the woman to the endangerment of her life, at a house on Lerwick’s Brown’s Road.

Last month Lerwick Sheriff Court heard how the woman 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.

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

Ladley had been remanded in custody for social enquiry and psychiatric reports, which were described as very positive in court on Wednesday.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said that it was clear Ladley was good at his job as a soldier and his superiors had tried to persuade him not to leave the army.

Mr Allan said that his previous marriage had suffered after he had served in Iraq, during which he witnessed the aftermath of two roadside bombs in which civilians and children had suffered horrific injuries.

The military had offered him little in the way of psychiatric support, but since his arrest he had seen a psychiatrist who had said that he did not appear to be suffering any extreme form of post traumatic stress, and would benefit from counselling.

Ladley had also acknowledged that too much alcohol had been consumed in his current relationship, and at the time of the assault he had been taking anti depressants, which made him angry and irritable.

The case was adjourned for a few hours to see if an address could be found for Ladley to stay in Aberdeen or Lerwick.

However when this proved impossible, the sheriff addressed Ladley’s victim who had been in court all day.

She said that she would like Ladley to return to live with her, even though the social enquiry report suggested there was still a risk of him acting violently.

Sheriff Napier said that he was placing a huge amount of trust in Ladley by allowing him his freedom. Placing him on probation for three years, he ordered him to carry out 300 hours community service and to attend a course to help men who are violent towards women.

The sheriff also said that Ladley would need to address his issues with alcohol and any residual stress from being in the army, but suggested that might best be done in the community.