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Sofa surfer Gary Harland moving into Deal home of partner he wanted to kill

By Matt Leclere

A former drug user who squeezed his partner’s throat and threatened to kill her was spared jail – and will now move into his victim’s home.

Gary Harland, 43, returned to his ex-partner’s home in Deal following a row, then rung her throat shouting: “I’m going to kill you,” a court heard.

Harland, who is currently sofa surfing at a friend’s house in The Fairway, pleaded guilty to assault by beating at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

The case was heard at Folkestone Magistrates' Court
The case was heard at Folkestone Magistrates' Court

Harland has since proposed to his victim and plans to move in, despite her telling the court: “I’m afraid he will kill me.”

Prosecutor Neil Sweeney told how the victim heard a knock at the door, and when she answered Harland pushed her backwards.

“The victim says he pushed her and grabbed her throat and shouted he was going to kill her.

“She opened the front door and saw her neighbour. Mr Harland left,” he continued.

Mr Sweeney added the woman suffered cuts and bruises to the face and red marks around the neck, following the May 25 attack.

On hearing the evidence Harland sat emotionless in the dock.

"I'm afraid he will kill me... it will happen sooner or later" - the domestic violence victim

Her victim impact statement said: “I have anxiety disorder.

“I feel like I don’t want to speak to anyone anymore, I’m afraid he will kill me. It will happen sooner or later.

“I shouldn’t have to look over my shoulder like this.”

Harland, a former drug user has previous convictions including assault but has been invited to live back at her property.

He has been unemployed since 2004, due to anxiety and depression resulting from a previous relationship breakdown.

Despite the guilty plea, Harland maintained his victim was “in his face” so he “pushed her out of the way”.

Stella Eccles, chairman of the bench, dished out an 18 months community order including an alcohol treatment course for six months.

He was also handed a fine of £705, which he will pay £20 a fortnight.

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