A SOLDIER convicted of throttling a woman after a campaign of abuse begged a judge to let him out of prison so he could go back to work.

Stephen Burnett, 30, pleaded guilty last month to coercive and controlling behaviour, assault causing actual bodily harm and theft of mobile phones. He denied allegations of sexual assault, ABH and battery, and formal not guilty verdicts will be recorded.

After spending around six months on remand waiting for his trial, the squaddie had expected to be sentenced last week. Those hopes were dashed, however, after it emerged the probation officer tasked with preparing a pre-sentence report had not had the final charges Burnett admitted on the day of his trial.

Judge Jason Taylor QC adjourned sentence to September 28, ordering an updated report that would specifically address if the defendant could complete the Building Better Relationships course.

He told Burnett: “If you – and I’m not saying you’ve done this, okay, – but if you just deny, deny, deny and make very limited admissions and seem to be casting the blame on others you don’t help your case.

“You’ve now spent the equivalent of 12 months in custody and I’m trying to approach this constructively so you don’t find yourself in the dock or prison in future having committed offences of domestic violence.”

Burnett begged the judge at the end of the hearing to release him from prison.

“My car’s on finance. I haven’t been paying child support for my children. I need to get out and work,” he said over the video link from Bullingdon prison.

“It’s almost Christmas time. I can’t even provide for my kids. I just want to get out, go back to work. I’ll do whatever courses.”

Judge Taylor responded: “Help me to help you.”

Last month, Swindon Crown Court heard Burnett had throttled his victim, who he had known for around a year-and-a-half after meeting her online.

She feared she would die and hinted in a statement of having suicidal thoughts. “If I didn’t have children I know for me personally the impact of his actions would have written a different story,” she said in the statement, which was read to the court.

Prosecutor Don Tait said the pair’s interaction had been characterised by “repeated assaults, threats of violence and controlling behaviour by the defendant towards her”.

He had bombarded her with messages demanding to know where she was, ordering her to send him pictures of herself to prove she was at work or with her mother.

Despite being interviewed by police in January and released with bail conditions not to contact the woman, the pair continued to keep in touch.

On March 14 he was at the woman’s home. He demanded to look at her phone and, when she refused, he attacked her.

Despite the woman’s young children being in the house he threw her to the floor, straddled her and began to choke her.

Mr Tait said: “She thought she was going to die. At some point she managed to escape from his clutches and get into the back garden where she screamed for help.” Her distress call was heard by the neighbours, who called the police.