Man jailed for attack on ex-wife

A NORTH-EAST man has been jailed after attacking his ex wife and telling her “If I can’t have you, nobody can have you”.

Monday, 5th September 2011, 1:00 pm

Cheryl Ritchie “was seeing stars” after her ex-partner, John Anderson Amps, carried out the vicious attack at her Fraserburgh home. Doctors who examined Ms Ritchie found several injuries, including redness to the base of her spine and three separate injuries “consistent with strangulation”.

Ms Ritchie had been separated from Amps (42), when the attack occurred at her home in Fraserburgh on June 12. A restraining order had previously been taken out against Amps in June 2010, preventing him from contacting Ms Ritchie, when their 20-year marriage broke down.

Peterhead Sheriff Court heard last week that Amps, who was described as a prisoner in Aberdeen, had seized Ms Ritchie by the neck, pushed his knee into the small of her back and strangled her, in an attack that could have proved fatal.

He told her: “If I can’t have you then nobody can have you.”

Although Ms Ritchie did not lose consciousness, she “was seeing stars”.

Police received a 999 call at around 8pm in which they heard only “screaming and crying”. When officers arrived at the house they found Ms Ritchie “completely hysterical” and begging officers “don’t let him get me”.

Procurator Fiscal Alisdair Fay said: “Despite the accused being restrained by police, the complainer ran to seek protection from a neighbour and collapsed on the floor of a hall way screaming.”

He said that police found Amps “highly agitated” in his ex-wife’s living room, “clenching and unclenching his fists and sweating”.

Amps was “extraordinarily calm” during later police interviews and “did not engage” with interviewing officers. Amps was also charged with sending threatening text messages to Ms Ritchie on the day of the attack, including one which read “You’re history, you shouldn’t play games with a psycho, HAHA”.

Defence agent for Amps Gail Wigans said that text messages between Amps and Ritchie were “never just one way traffic” and that 93 had been sent from Ms Ritchie to Amps in the months preceding the attack. Police found that none of the messages sent by Ms Ritchie were menacing. Ms Wigans said: “Mr Amps went to the property seeking answers. There was no premeditation to harm his ex wife. He believes he snapped.

“It was Mr Amps who stopped the attack, not because of intervention. He has had time to reflect on his actions.”

She said that Amps had had mental health issues including a number of breakdowns which required him to have treatment as an in-patient at Aberdeen’s Cornhill Hospital.

Sentencing him to 18 months in prison plus an eight-month supervision order upon his release, Sheriff Philip Mann said: “I have noted the length of your marriage and the mental health issues which may help to explain what happened. I accept that every marriage has two sides to every story but you were separated and you were subject to a restraining order preventing you from contacting your ex wife but you chose to visit.

“This charge is extremely serious, probably only next in line to attempted murder. This must have been extremely frightening and distressing for your ex-wife so I have no other option other than to impose a custodial sentence.”