Accused of choking girlfriend
THE TRIAL of a Canadian man accused of choking his former girlfriend and rendering her unconscious last May is continuing in Fort William.
Jeffrey Raymond Kell, 33, has denied the assault, alleged to have taken place during the early hours of May 20, 2016, at a Fort William hotel.
On Monday April 3, when the trial began, Fort William Sheriff Court heard evidence from the complainant, a 27-year- old Canadian woman, who said an argument broke out between herself and Kell, who were on holiday in Fort William, after they had been drinking together at the hotel bar.
The complainant told the court she and Kell began ‘bickering’ after the pair engaged in sexual activity, during which she became uncomfortable but he failed to stop.
She said Kell ‘just snapped’ and grabbed her by the neck and threw her against the wall and the mirror, smashed her head on the floor and choked her.
She said she then saw him jump out the window on to the mezzanine roof below but he said she had pushed him. She told the court Kell then came back to the room and she let him in because she was ‘scared of what he was going to do’.
At this point, she said, a concierge came to the door to tell them the police had been called.
The complainer said Kell then threw something small and hard at her and she threw a pillow back at him, at which point she says he choked her to the point where she became unconscious.
When she woke up, she ran to the front desk, where the concierge hid her in a corner in the dark until the police arrived.
The court learned the complainer had retracted the statement she had given to the police and had it authorised by a Canadian lawyer on May 31, 2016. The complainer claims Kell’s mother made her do it as she said Kell was going to be killed in prison if she didn’t.
Kell’s solicitor Gerry Sweeney said his client’s position was that he choked the complainer twice at her request, as part of the sexual activity, and he later choked her another twice in self- defence as she attacked him, all of which the complainer denies.
On Tuesday, the trial continued and the hotel’s night porter, whom the complainant referred to as the concierge, told the court he had knocked on their hotel room door following three or four phone calls from other guests complaining about noise.
He said as he approached the room on the second floor to investigate he heard a woman screaming, ‘Please stop doing that, just let me go’ and a man saying: ‘You’re a bitch, you shouldn’t be doing that, I don’t deserve that’ as well as loud banging which sounded like hitting or kicking.
When he knocked on the door, Kell answered and told him he was just leaving. The night porter then returned to reception to phone the police.
He confirmed he hid the woman until the police arrived, at which point he spoke to officers and then returned to the room following further calls from guests and came back down with Kell, who he feared was going to kill himself.
The court also heard evidence from two witnesses staying in the hotel on the night of May 19.
The first told the court she called police after hearing noises of a sexual nature followed by a man shouting loudly and aggressively and a hysterical woman, accompanied with loud crashes and bangs. She said she was fearful of someone being hurt and for her own safety.
The second witness told the court he heard loud footsteps followed by noises of sexual activity. Around half an hour after this he said ‘all hell broke loose’.
Police constables Marina MacDonald and Sean Knox, who both attended the scene shortly before 1am after reports of a disturbance at the hotel, told the court the complainant was upset and distressed.
Constable Knox then checked if the woman was okay and the porter showed them to the couple’s room where Kell was detained at 1am on suspicion of assault. The trial continues.