Alcoholic choked partner unconscious ‘while dreaming he was cage fighting’

A Derby alcoholic choked his partner in bed “while dreaming he was cage fighting”.

A jury heard how Bradley Souto claims to have had his opponent in a strangle hold in his dream when he woke to find his arm clasped around Rebecca Jackson’s neck.

Realising she was was lifeless, the 31-year-old, of Alvaston, first rang his mother and then rang for an ambulance with one miraculously happening to be passing his street at the time.

When paramedics arrived they found Miss Jackson unconscious in bed and Souto in the kitchen having harmed himself in an apparent suicide attempt.

And Miss Jackson told the hearing she “thought she would die and leave her children without a mum” at the defendant’s hand.

Souto, a father-of-two of Farm Drive, is on trial at Derby Crown Court for attempted murder.

He denies the charge.

Jonathan Straw, prosecuting, opened the trial to the seven women and five men of the jury.

He said Souto and Miss Jackson had been together for a number of years and have two children together.

But he said their relationship had been badly affected by the defendant’s alcoholism, which at its height saw him drink 16 cans of Strongbow cider a night.

Mr Straw said: “This defendant, Bradley Souto, tried to kill his partner Rebecca Jackson and he very nearly succeeded.

“She had gone to sleep and the next thing she recalls is regaining some sort of consciousness with him strangling her from behind in a choke hold.

“She could not breath, she very quickly lost consciousness, but before she lost consciousness she heard him say ‘don’t worry this won’t take much longer’.

“You will hear a 999 call he made in which he is asked by the operator ‘tell me exactly what happened’, to which he replies ‘I ran a rampage, I choked my girlfriend out she’s very purple in the face’.

“He says in his defence statement that he had choked Rebecca and this incident did happen, but he was not aware of it because he was asleep.

“He says he was dreaming about cage fighting he had been watching on TV and in it he was watching himself in the ring with his opponent in a strangle hold.

“He says he was midway through this when he suddenly became aware that his dream was being acted out in person and it was not his opponent he was strangling, but his partner Rebecca.”

Mr Straw told the hearing in early 2019 Souto and Miss Jackson’s relationship was “very much on the rocks” due to his alcoholism.

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He said they reconciled in May of that year after he stopped drinking, but he started again later in the year.

Mr Straw said the day before the incident, which was on November 13, 2019, Miss Jackson sent the defendant a WhatsApp message in which she told him if he carried on he would need to leave their home and go and live with his family.

He said the following day Souto had drank cider and went to bed around 9.30pm, which was unusual for him as he would normally go up after his partner.

Mr Straw said: “She went upstairs and challenged him about this, but he was non-responsive.

“She next remembers getting into bed her phone vibrating on the bedside table which was a message from a friend and neighbour.

“The next thing she remembers is regaining some sort of consciousness having him strangling her from behind in a choke hold.”

Mr Straw told the jury how after the incident Miss Jackson was taken to the Royal Derby Hospital.

He said she has now made a full recovery from her physical injuries.

On November 20, 2019, the 31-year-old mother gave an interview which was recorded at St Mary’s Wharf police station and was played to the jury.

Asked about what she recalled about the incident she said: “He had his arm around my neck, it was so tight, really really tight, I was really struggling to breath.

“I just thought I was going to die, I thought ‘this is it now, I am at the end of my life now’.”

Fighting back tears in the interview, Miss Jackson added: “My biggest fear was leaving the children without a mum, I absolutely love my children.

“I just thought ‘I can’t believe he’s doing this to me, I’m dead’.

“I just thought what’s going to happen to my children when I am gone?’.”

The trial, which is expected to last two weeks, continues.

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