A woman who was being throttled and punched by her boyfriend was rescued by a public-spirited hotel guest, York Crown Court heard.

The visitor to York heard a commotion as the screaming woman tried to escape from the hotel room next door where Ben Garner had just throttled the woman as part of a prolonged assault, said Victoria Barker, prosecuting.

The 32-year-old ex-prisoner was trying to drag his girlfriend back into the couple’s room, but the woman hotel guest got her into her own room and called police.

“If it wasn’t for the public-spirited member of the public in the hotel hearing the commotion and rescuing her, heaven knows what would have ended up happening,” said the Recorder of York, Judge Sean Morris.

He told Garner: “You must understand that this kind of behaviour can result in death very, very quickly and suddenly. It doesn’t take much pressure. It is remarkable how quickly people can die when they are being strangled.”

Ms Barker said the girlfriend believed Garner was going to kill her during the violence.

He had accused her of cheating on him, called her names and had hit her and bit her behind her ear as they walked back to the hotel after drinking in the city centre.

In their room, he had grabbed her by the neck as she lay in bed and whilst throttling her with one hand punched her repeatedly with the other saying he would continue to hit her until she gave him the passcode to her phone.

She was so terrified she had yielded to his threats and gave him the passcode.

Garner, of Fillingham near Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm and strangulation. He was jailed for 20 months.

Defence solicitor advocate Kelleigh Lodge said: “He is genuinely sorry for the incident that occurred on November 6 and the impact it has had upon the complainant.”

He had started drinking heavily following his release from prison in June 2023 and hadn’t realised that alcohol was now a problem for him.

Since being remanded in custody, he had been working with an alcohol rehabilitation organisation to address the issue.

He now accepted the relationship was over.

Ms Barker said Garner had been jailed for 21 months for theft from a person and following his release in June 2023, the girlfriend had noticed he had a short temper.

On November 4, Garner had been arrested over an incident involving her and released on bail on condition he didn’t contact her.

It wasn’t clear whether the girlfriend knew about the bail condition, said Ms Barker.

Garner did contact her and persuaded her to go for a trip to York with him.

On November 6, having arrived in York by train, they were drinking at a Slug and Lettuce pub in the city centre when Garner became aggressive and his behaviour changed.

He began to question her about her contacts with other people and continued to drink until they left to return to their hotel.

She suffered a bruised neck, face and hands and other injuries to her neck, head and face in the incident, the court heard.