A man who claimed he strangled his partner after having a dream about cage fighting has been jailed for 18 years.
Bradley Souto attacked his partner Rebecca Jackson as she slept on the evening of 13 November, 2019.
After choking her unconscious, he rang his mother who told him to ring 999. A passing ambulance was diverted to the address and paramedics rushed to save Rebecca’s life.
Souto meanwhile went into the kitchen of the couple’s home in Farm Drive, Alvaston, and cut his wrists.
The 30-year-old was arrested and charged with attempted murder – which he denied and forced his partner of 10 years to relive the horrifying moment again during a nearly two-week-long trial in January at Derby Crown Court.
Souto’s defence was built on his claim that he had been dreaming about cage fighting and that he was watching himself fight an opponent who he had in a chokehold. When he awoke, he said, he found he was choking the mother of his two children.
Detectives and colleagues from the Crown Prosecution Service worked with sleep experts to debunk Souto’s claims and the jury took just over an hour to find him guilty of attempted murder.
During today’s sentencing, where the former builder was jailed for 18 years, Rebecca’s victim impact statement was read out to the court explaining the toll the incident and subsequent trial has taken:
“My life has been completely turned upside down and has been far from normal ever since that day. I am dealing with the consequences of his actions each and every day, and my children are also dealing with that. I can’t imagine a time when my life will ever be normal again.
“I can no longer let my children hug me around my neck, it upsets and panics me and makes me wince at the feeling. The children now know that they can’t hug me around my neck. They know that Bradley hurt my neck and the reason why I don’t like it. I don’t think that the children are going to hurt me, but the feeling of arms around my neck is no longer a comfort to me.
“The thought of having another relationship terrifies me, and I do not know whether or not I will ever be able to have a relationship again. Right now, I do not want another relationship. I don’t know at the minute whether I could ever trust another person enough to enter into a relationship with them. I do know that the thought of sharing a bed with somebody ever again terrifies me.
“I am lucky to have had my family around me. My parents and sister have been so supportive of me through this difficult time, and I could not have made it through were it not for them and my children.”
DC Joe Lovelock, who led the investigation, said: “This was an extremely unusual case and could so easily have seen a murder charge being put before the court – had it not been for an ambulance being so close to the scene.
“The case relied on expert analysis of Souto’s claims along with the compelling evidence from Rebecca.
“One can only begin to imagine the shock and abject terror that she must have felt that night and I can only thank her for her fortitude and unswerving support for the case.
“Nearly 18 months on from that night the impact of Bradley Souto’s actions are still being felt, however, I hope that today’s sentence provides closure for Rebecca and allows her to begin rebuilding her life.”