Gravesend man Aaron Payne faces sentence after admitting trying to strangle Carly Steel in alleyway
A Gravesend man is awaiting sentence after he admitted trying to strangle a woman in a random street attack.
Aaron Payne, 26, was due to stand trial at Maidstone Crown Court this week, accused of attempting to murder Carly Steel on August 1 last year.
He also faced an alternative charge of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent on the same occasion to Miss Steel.
Freeman Road in Gravesend. Picture: Google Street View
However, before a jury was sworn in Payne, of Fenners Marsh, pleaded guilty to the alternative offence.
It was reported at the time that Miss Steel was attacked in an alleyway near Freeman Road, Gravesend.
Payne, who has previous convictions for assaulting police and assault causing actual bodily harm, was remanded in custody until he is sentenced in March.
Adjourning for reports to consider dangerousness, Judge Charles Byers said he needed to know more about Payne's "make-up" before deciding on punishment.
"There are some very nasty elements to this case, not only the attack, which was serious to say the least on Miss Steel, and most unpleasant, but there is a thought he may have been following another woman, although that would not influence me greatly," said the judge.
The court was told that there was no sexual motive for the attack on Miss Steel, who was in court with her family to see Payne plead guilty.
Judge Byers added that she had been "candid" when she told police Payne had not touched her "in any way other than to strangle her".
At the start of the hearing the court heard that Payne had never denied being responsible for the attack on Miss Steel. The only issue was whether he intended to kill or cause grievous bodily harm.
Payne had offered at an earlier stage in the court proceedings to plead guilty to an offence of assault causing actual bodily harm, but this was not accepted by the prosecution.
He was also told after he admitted attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent that any credit would be "very limited".
"There are convictions for violence but nothing that comes anywhere near the seriousness of this offence" - Judge Charles Byers
"Your plea will make a little difference to the sentence I ultimately pass," said the judge, "but as you can imagine I want to know a little bit more about you before I decide the appropriate punishment."
John Fitzgerald, defending, said Payne's record of previous convictions was "clearly unattractive", although not lengthy.
He added, however: "There are convictions for violence but nothing that comes anywhere near the seriousness of this offence."
The facts of the case were not opened by prosecutor Jeffrey Lamb, who handed a victim impact statement made by Miss Steel to the judge.
Mr Lamb said the offence of attempted murder will be formally dealt with at the sentencing hearing.
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