Life sentence for attack by 22-year-old with strangulation obsession
PUBLISHED: 19:00 02 July 2020 | UPDATED: 20:53 02 July 2020
A twisted fantasist, sexually preoccupied by strangulation, has received a life sentence for throttling a counsellor.
Daniel Howes lied his way into the home of his victim by concocting a story about being bereaved by his mother’s made-up death.
At the end of the session, the 22-year-old’s demeanour switched from “controlled and expressionless” as he launched at the woman and dragged her to the floor, punching her repeatedly and gripping her round the throat.
Howes, of Denmark Street, Diss, appeared on video link from Norwich prison to be sentenced for attempted grievous bodily harm with intent at Ipswich Crown Court on Thursday, having pleaded guilty to the offence at an earlier hearing on June 29.
Judge Martyn Levett said Howes had deliberately targeted a vulnerable victim and had a “particular problem with middle-aged females”.
The court heard that Howes was out of prison on an extended licence when the attack happened on January 3 – and had been recalled to jail once already for smoking cannabis.
He had been released from a nine-year sentence for aggravated burglary at the home of a 70-year-old woman he attacked and threatened with a knife in 2014.
In 2012, he assaulted his own mother in an alleyway, set fire to a bus shelter and threatened a teenage girl with a knife.
The following year, he carried out three burglaries, leaving stab marks in a mattress belonging to an elderly woman whose home he twice broke into.
Within weeks of his release from jail in August last year, Howes had recorded on his phone 23 television and movie clips of women being strangled, and in many, could be heard urging the perpetrator on.
Police later discovered a list of women Howes had intended to strangle, including his probation officer, previous solicitor, his aunt and mother.
His phone would also be found to contain the images of 28 female counsellors, including the one he travelled 20 minutes from home to attack, after requesting a one-to-one session due to “confidence issues”.
Judge Levett said: “In my view, that was to ensure she was isolated, and probably excited you and satisfied your fantasies.”
A psychiatric report found Howes was sexually preoccupied with strangulation – particularly of older women.
He was said to have an interest in superhero fantasy figures and was motivated by a misplaced sense of revenge.
Judge Levett said he represented a significant risk to the public and should receive a life sentence with a minimum term of five years before being eligible for parole.
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