A WOMAN being brutally attacked by her ex-partner was able to call the police by running to her car and pushing an SOS button in the vehicle.

At Gloucester Crown Court last week, Judge Rupert Lowe said he had never heard of such a facility in cars before – and prosecuting barrister Susan Cavender said she had also been surprised when she was first briefed about it.

She said she had been told that all cars made from 2018 onwards had SOS call buttons in them.

The judge, sitting at Gloucester Crown Court, said “I have never bought a car as new as that, I have to say, but I am amazed! I didn’t know that.”

Ms Cavender said “I was surprised too. I have asked the police officer in the case and that is what I was told.”

A few minutes later the judge said he had done a quick internet search to find out more about the in-car SOS system.

“I have looked up SOS buttons and it seems to be confirmed,” he said. “They have all got these buttons in them since April 2018.”

The judge was dealing with Ashton Potter, 29, who attacked his partner, punching her repeatedly and strangling her, when he got home from a drinking session with friends.

Potter, of Colliers Field, Cinderford who had no previous criminal convictions, pleaded guilty to assaulting his partner causing her actual bodily harm, intentionally strangling her and damaging her phone on January 30 this year.

He was sentenced to a total of one year in jail and ordered to pay a £187 surcharge.

Ms Cavender said the couple had been in a relationship for about 18 months and were living together from December 2022.

But cracks began to appear in the relationship last Spring and both of them were drinking too much, she said. Potter was also using cocaine and became more and more concerned with the idea that she might be seeing other men.

Things came to a head last September when the relationship ended. However, they continued seeing each other and on January 30 they agreed to have supper together. However, he arrived late, at 9.30pm, after drinking in a pub with friends and he called her a ‘fat slag,’ said Ms Cavender.

He then grabbed her and she recalled being on the floor with him sitting on top, straddling her, the prosecutor said. She recalled him twice gripping her tightly round the throat with both hands, the first time for about 30 seconds and then for a minute.

“She says he is really, really strong and he was gripping her with such force that she couldn’t breathe,” Ms Cavender said.

“He looked very angry and she was very frightened. He was also punching her in the face with both fists clenched.

“He forced his face onto hers and tried to bite her cheek. She put her hand in the way and he bit down on her hand.

“They both got up and he pushed her back onto the sofa before picking up her phone and throwing it at the wall. It was damaged.

“He then began to apologise. He said ‘You don’t need to say sorry, it’s my fault. I shouldn’t have done that.’

Ms Cavender added “He then said he wanted to hang himself and she should leave so she didn’t have to watch him kill himself.

“She then went out to the car and used her emergency SOS button.

“The police arrived at 10.10pm and found the house locked. They forced entry but there was no-one there.

“The victim was found at her parents’ home in Coleford in a very distressed state. She said she thought the defendant was going to kill her.

“It was seen she had a bite mark to the left hand and marks on her neck, scratches on her back, bruising to her chin and face and a cut on her lower lip.

“The police went back to the house at 4.30am and arrested the defendant.”

Potter, who was not legally represented because his solicitors had been unable to get Legal Aid for him, said he was happy to continue without a lawyer. When the judge told him that custody seemed inevitable because the probation service had offered no alternative form of sentence, Potter repeated that he was content to go on with the case.

Potter told the judge the offence happened when he was ‘paranoid’ because of his drug use but since being remanded in custody last month his mental health was getting better, he was keeping fit in the gym and doing circuit training.

“I have never harmed anyone before. I am not a dangerous person,” he said.

The judge said “Have you seen the photos of what you did to her? You could have killed her - seriously, you could have killed her.”

Potter said that had never been his intention and he ‘just wanted to scare her.’

“You were angry like a wild animal,” said the judge.

“I just made a mistake and I am now paying the price for it,” said Potter. “I am sincerely remorseful. That night is something I want to forget about and move on. I am going to seek an anger management course to control this side of me which I didn’t know I had. I am not really a bad person.

“I am speaking to mental health nurses here in prison about getting on medication to improve my mood and I am working in three jobs here to keep myself busy and to contribute.I am a role model prisoner.”

Passing sentence the judge said “You are an intelligent man but you did not behave like one that night - in senseless fury you took it out on a completely defenceless woman and she thought she was going to die.”