50-year-old man strangled young boy who tried to defend his mum

A man who threatened to kill his partner on her birthday went onto strangle and bite her young son. Mark Place told his then-partner to “just go and die” because he was angry that she had spent time with her children to celebrate her birthday in July 2021, before calling her fat and criticising her for not cooking him dinner.

When her son tried to stand up for her, Place put his hands around his neck and lifted him off the floor before biting him on the nose.

He then shouted “I will knock your teeth out if you don’t shut up”, Derbyshire Live reports.

When the woman’s 23-year-old son then entered the room, Place threatened him and chased him down the street before turning to his partner and shouting “you are next”, saying he would kill her.

Stefan Fox, prosecuting, told Derby Crown Court on Tuesday, March 8, that prior to the incident, Place’s partner had gone out shopping with her children, which angered him.

The 50-year-old then posted on social media to say that his partner had “left him just like his ex” and texted her to sarcastically ask whether she was having a good time.

The assault took place at around 7.30pm after the woman and her children returned home, with Place heard smashing items upstairs prior to the attack.

But following the incident, which resulted in a neighbour calling the police, Place then changed his tune and apologised to his partner and her children and promised to “make it up to them” before being arrested.

The relationship ended at the end of July, shortly after this incident, the court was told, but the child has been left “deeply affected and traumatised” and prone to “violent outbursts” as a result of what happened, the judge later said in his sentencing remarks.

Place entered a relationship with another woman shortly after but in December last year he was handed a two-year prison sentence for throwing a metal stool at the second woman during a drunken row last October, before these offences against the earlier partner came to light.

The defendant held his head in his hands on a video link from HMP Nottingham as the court heard how he had 22 convictions for 55 offences and had earlier pleaded guilty to a count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm against the young boy and threatening behaviour against his former partner for the July offences.

Julia King, mitigating, told the court that Place, of HMP Nottingham and formerly of Gordon Street, Ilkeston, was dealing with long-standing alcohol issues in prison and did not seek to argue the case against him.

She said: “He vehemently denies the suggestion that he has any history of harming any people who wrong him. As unpleasant as it is, there are arguments that can properly be made.

“This is a man who has some anger management and possibly some alcohol issues. He has recognised that he has a drinking problem and that is something that only he can tackle.

“He is working as a prison liaison representative and finds that incredibly rewarding. It is the first time for some years that he does not feel suicidal.

“He is a man who is working to make the changes that he plainly needs to make to prevent him coming before the court again.”

Sentencing Place to a further year in prison on top of his current sentence, Recorder Justin Wigoder rejected the defence’s argument that the assault had little lasting impact.

He said: “It is clear, Mr Place, that when sober you are quite an intelligent man. Despite that, you’re 50, and you have an appalling record which includes a number of offences of violence.

“You began a relationship. As is the way of things, it began fine but clearly the stage came that you became jealous about her and reading between the lines there is an element of controlling behaviour. Matters came to a head in July last year, when she wanted to go out for her birthday.

“Her young boy came in, heard you and tried to stand up for his mum, and what you did then is totally inexcusable. You told him you would knock his teeth out if he did not shut up. You lifted him off the floor and bit him on the nose. This sort of behaviour can’t be tolerated by the court. What is difficult for the court is to try to establish, for the purposes of the guidelines, what impact this had on the victim.

“Since then, his behaviour has been an ongoing concern to the family who report recurring nightmares and flashbacks. He is worried about you returning to the family home. You say this is part of a much more complex problem, but I go by the facts that a large, well-built, fit man picked a boy off the ground by his throat and bit him on the nose.

“I am satisfied that this is an offence of high culpability. The victim was obviously vulnerable. This is a boy in his own home who had tried to come to help his mum.”

Place was handed a 12-month consecutive sentence for the assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and a concurrent three-month sentence for the threatening behaviour towards his former partner.

He is also now subject to a restraining order against the woman and her children for the next five years, and must pay a victim surcharge.