Anger as former Manchester United star Danny Simpson avoids jail for choking ex-girlfriend
Published 16/06/2015 | 08:08
Footballer Danny Simpson has been spared jail after his attack on his ex-partner Stephanie Ward.
The Leicester City player was found, by police, straddling Ward, his on-off partner of eight years, with both hands around her throat.
Judge Alexandra Simmons, when handing down her verdict in May, stated: “this is a serious matter, aggravated by being in domestic context.”
Yesterday, the 28-year-old was handed 300 hours of unpaid work after a judge heard his victim no longer supported an assault allegation.
The ex-Manchester United defender was found guilty of throttling the mother of his child, Stephanie Ward, at her home after a drunken row.
Police attended the property in Worsley, Greater Manchester, in the early hours of December 29 after a 999 call was made from the house in which she could be heard shouting ‘Get off me.’
One officer told the court he found Simpson, from Eccles, knelt over the her on the floor with his hands round her neck.
However Simpson, who now plays for Leicester city, robustly denied the allegation as did Miss Ward, who was not called to give evidence.
A day after the conviction, Ms Ward issued a statement insisting Simpson had not attacked her and claiming he was ‘a good man’.
District Judge Alan Jones was told Ms Ward had abandoned plans to take out a restraining order against Simpson, insisting it would be ‘detrimental’ and that she ‘relies on the defendant’s support’.
“I wish I could say what caused Stephanie Ward such distress that she shouted ‘get off me’ during a 999 call... only she and you Mr Simpson know what happened and I can’t base me sentencing upon speculation. It was clearly something which terrified her,” said the judge.
Women's aid have slammed the decision of the court.
In a statement, they told The Sun: "The sentence dose not reflect the crime. Committing an act of domestic violence against a woman is a total violation of her human rights.
"Men who abuse should feel the consequences of what they have done, even of they are a Premier League footballer.
"If sentences like this are given to perpetrators, the extremely serious nature of domestic violence is diluted and women are diluted yet again."