A BARNSLEY man has been jailed for three years for strangling a woman who ‘thought she was going to die’.

The force used the new legislation under the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 - in the first case of non-fatal strangulation in the county - to send Lee Jeffcock, formerly of Northgate in Barnsley, to jail.

He assaulted his victim, who has not been named, at an address in the town by punching her in the face and strangling her for an extensive period of time.

The victim was able to get away from Jeffcock and fled to a neighbour’s house where she phoned the police.

He was arrested in Pogmoor after officers traced his whereabouts.

At Sheffield Crown Court on Friday, he was sentenced to three years in jail after pleading guilty to one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and one count of non-fatal strangulation.

He was also handed a 15-year restraining order against the victim.

Temporary police sergeant Sam Mitchell, from the town’s domestic abuse team, said: “This is the first case of non-fatal strangulation that we’ve brought before the courts and I am pleased the evidence gathered by our officers, along with the incredibly brave testimony of Jeffcock’s victim, has resulted in a successful conviction and jail sentence.

“His victim suffered significant swelling and bruising to her face in what must have been a frightening ordeal.

“She reported to officers that when Jeffcock was strangling her, she thought she was going to die, which must have been unimaginably scary. I am immensely grateful to her for the courage she has shown throughout our enquiries.”

It’s the first time a case such as this has been brought to court in South Yorkshire, and officers involved in the case say they are pleased they were able to secure a conviction against Jeffcock.

“The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 created a new offence of non-fatal strangulation, among other measures, intended to improve the response and support offered to victims,” T/PS Mitchell added.

“I would like to thank the officers who worked on this case for their dedication and, using the new legislation available, securing a successful prosecution for the victim.”

Domestic abuse crimes have more than doubled in the last six years in South Yorkshire.

Home Office statistics show more than 22,000 offences were recorded by the force in 2020-21, making up 17 per cent of all offences that year.

It’s the equivalent of 16 for every 1,000 people in the area.

It is also a 158 per cent increase in domestic abuse offences since records began in 2015-16.