Saturday 17 March 2018

Former Manchester United defender faces prison for 'throttling' mother of his child

Former Manchester United defender found guilty of assault after police found him 'straddling' ex-girlfriend with hands around throat

Leicester City's Danny Simpson
Leicester City's Danny Simpson

Danny Simpson, the Leicester City full-back, faces a prison sentence after being found guilty of throttling the mother of his child in a drunken argument.

The former Manchester United and Newcastle United player was found guilty of one count of assault by beating in court in Manchester after police responded to a 999 call to find him straddling Stephanie Ward, his on-off partner of eight years, with both hands around her throat.

Police gave evidence that they heard shouting from the home and a "choking" sound, then discovered Miss Ward struggling to breathe as she was being throttled by Simpson.

Simpson, a former partner of the X Factor judge and pop group N-Dubz, was dragged off Miss Ward, handcuffed and arrested at the scene in Worsley, Greater Manchester, while Miss Ward was left 'crying hysterically and cowering' in a corner of the living room.

As Simpson was led away, the court heard that he shouted, "Steph, tell them I didn't do anything".

The pair, who were understood to be on generally good terms and have a three-year-old daughter, had been out for a Chinese meal in Manchester on December 28 before going out for further drinks at a hotel bar, the court was told.

They started arguing when Miss Ward accused Simpson of texting another woman and the argument continued on the way home.

During the eight-minute 999 call the pair can be heard arguing – Miss Ward can be heard shouting, 'Get off me, Get off me!'

Simpson was heard calling her "a slag".

PC Gareth Hughes, the first policeman on the scene, said: "I could hear screams, crying, then silence. I could then hear choking.

"I could see a small female lying in a prone position facing up. She was about three metres away from me.

"I saw a male who I now know to be Daniel Simpson straddling across her with his hands firmly placed round her neck. He was sitting on her on his knees. I initially heard choking when I entered the room.

"He seemed startled by my sudden presence. I had to drag him by his arm."

Simpson denied the charges, saying that the pair were arguing over a pair of shoes. He was told that "all sentencing options including custody remain open".

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