Former Findon Scout convicted of assault

A FORMER Findon Valley Sea Scout assistant leader has been ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid community work for grabbing his wife by the throat and threatening to kill her.

In August 2008, Mark Allwright told his wife Sarah: "I could kill you now", while holding his hands around her neck.

He was charged with assault by beating and appeared at a specialist domestic violence court based at Worthing Magistrates' Court for sentencing.

Threats

Kirsten Sharpe, prosecuting, told the court an argument began to escalate between the couple, who had been married for eight years.

She said: "Mr Allwright said to Sarah 'I hate you, I wish I'd never married you.

"I'd be quite prepared to do time. I could quite easily have killed you by now'."

Miss Sharpe said 50-year-old Allwright then put both hands around his wife's neck and kept repeating "I could kill you now".

She added: "Sarah started coughing, choking. She was scared, thinking he was going to kill her there and then. Eventually, he snapped out of it and left her alone."

Changed plea

Allwright pleaded not guilty to the offence at the first hearing , but during the second hearing in December 2008, Mrs Allwright was spared having to give evidence after he changed his plea to guilty.

"It has been very hard for Mrs Allwright," said Miss Sharpe.

"The fact she was prepared to give evidence against him is what encouraged him to change his plea at the 11th hour.

"She's suffered financially after all direct debits were stopped and her car insurance was cancelled.

"Now she's on benefits for the first time in her life and having to accept food parcels from the Salvation Army."

Good character

The court heard Allwright, who owns a construction company and now lives in Stanmer Park Road, Brighton, was of previous good character.

Although this was the first instance of physical abuse towards Mrs Allwright, the court heard she had suffered numerous occasions of verbal abuse from her husband, who was an assistant leader with the 1st Findon Valley Sea Scout group.

Sentencing Allwright, magistrates said: "We've taken account of your guilty plea, albeit at the final chance.

"We've listened to the facts of the case and in view of what's been said we feel a high-level community order is appropriate."

Allwright was warned he faced 150 hours of unpaid community work, which was reduced to 100 hours for pleading guilty.

He was also ordered to complete a domestic abuse programme and pay costs of 70.

Suspended

The Scout Association confirmed Allwright's involvement with the Sea Scouts and suspended him from the movement when police investigations began.

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