A CHURCHGOER who repeatedly threatened to kill his wife after their marriage broke down has been jailed for three years.

Joao Dias was banned from contacting his ex, who works as auxiliary nurse, or going to her home after she took out a non-molestation order in the family court.

But the 47-year-old bully went to her house on at least two occasions and issued a series of death threats in front of their teenage sons.

After he admitted the offences at Swindon Crown Court he tried to change his plea, claiming he had not made a threat on her life.

He suggested the word for ‘kill’ in his mother tongue Konkani also meant ‘hit’ if pronounced a certain way. But having changed his legal team he accepted what he had done and did not formally try to change his pleas.

Hannah Squire, prosecuting, told how he issued the threats in April and June after going to her home in the Broad Street area, despite the ban.

She said the woman was initially scared to report the matter but eventually got the police involved after evidence of his behaviour was compiled by the family.

Dias, of Cricklade Road, pleaded guilty to two counts of threats to kill and one of breaching a non molestation order.

He denied a charge of actual bodily harm, where he was said to have throttled and smothered her his in April this year. It will lie on the file.

Ellen McAnaw, defending, said her client had never been in trouble before but could not accept the breakdown of the marriage. Once he has served his sentence she said he planned to leave Swindon and move to London, where most of his family are. And he would no longer attend Holy Rood church where both had been members of the congregation.

Judge Ian Lawrie QC said “These were committed while you were subject to a an order of the family court, namely a non molestation order.

“That non molestation order would have been put in place by the family court because of concerns about your behaviour.

“Part of this offence happened when you entered her home. The view that I take of your behaviour is it is classic bullying, manipulative, and you were making a concerted effort to intimidate her.

“The whole sequence of behaviour is clearly of concern to the court, as you behaved in a way that is free from restraint. Part of a process that your wife knew she was under threat by you on this persistent basis.

“I have to address that against the history of past behaviour that no doubt gave rise to the order of the family court in the first place. I am not sentencing you for that: it just sets the scene. The court is concerned about your behaviour as I said, it shows an absence of restraint, it shows you are a bully, it shows you have no respect for your wife.

“It occurred in the presence of your son, so no respect for your children.”

He also imposed a restraining order banning him from contacting his wife or from going close to her home.