Man who choked woman he met on Tinder faces becomes first person charged under new non-fatal strangulation law

The accused was earlier jailed for throwing a glass at two women and marching around a hotel with a knife

Man who choked woman he met on Tinder faces becomes first person charged under new non-fatal strangulation law
Benjamin Flatters has been jailed under the new non-strangulation law which can carry up to five years in prison (Lincolnshire Police)
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LINCOLNSHIRE, ENGLAND: A man in the UK met a woman through Tinder and choked her six weeks after their first meeting. The woman in question was attacked by the man at her home in Lincolnshire in June. Now, he has become one of the first in the UK to be jailed under the new non-fatal strangulation law.

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Benjamin Flatters, 32, hailing from Spalding, choked the woman for at least five minutes before she was able to escape and run to her neighbors for help. He went as far as to threaten to burn the house as he didn't want to go back to prison. While the victim did not suffer any life-threatening injuries, she was left with red marks on her neck as per the police as they arrested Flatters at the scene. He was jailed for 34 months on Wednesday, August 24, and the Lincolnshire Police said it was the county's first case brought under the new legislation, which it described as "potentially life-changing." This is not Flatters' first crime, he was earlier jailed for throwing a glass at two women and marching around a hotel with a knife. 

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Flatters pleaded guilty to non-fatal strangulation, threatening to set the woman's home on fire, and criminal damage and will have to serve a further 12 months on extended license after his release. He was also handed a 10-year restraining order. Previously the attack would have meant a charge of common assault, but the new non-fatal strangulation law recognizes the real nature of this fatal attack. It was introduced nationally on June 7 and focuses on protecting the victims of domestic abuse. Moreover, choking someone earlier carried a maximum sentence of six months. 

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(Facebook/Ben Chantenay Flatters)
Benjamin Flatters choked a woman at her house for five minutes, six weeks after meeting her on Tinder. (Facebook/Ben Chantenay Flatters)

New non-fatal strangulation law changes everything

Strangling someone is not a minor crime anymore. From a mere sentence of six months, the accused can now get up to five years in prison. It all changed when the proposal was first put forward by campaigners who argued that one in five sex assault victims are strangled by their partner. According to a study carried out in 2018 as per Daily Mail, nearly a third of female murders were by suffocation or strangulation. 

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Detective Chief Inspector Reid Martin, from the force's Protecting Vulnerable Persons Unit, said, "Domestic abuse is absolutely a priority for Lincolnshire Police and for the perpetrator in this case to receive a 34-month custodial sentence sends a strong message to perpetrators. I hope that the victim in this case feels a sense of justice for what they have gone through. I also hope that this encourages more victims to come forward and report domestic abuse." 

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