Letchworth man charged with strangulation and sexual assault

A police officer on the phone, facing away from camera.

Ashley Banks was charged with a range of offences, including assault by beating an emergency worker. - Credit: PA

A man from Letchworth has been charged with a range of offences including strangulation, ABH (Actual Bodily Harm) and sexual assault by touching.

Ashley Banks, of no fixed abode, was charged following an incident in Letchworth on July 2. 

The full list of offences that the 34-year-old was charged with include strangulation, ABH and sexual assault by touching, common assault, assault by beating an emergency worker, public order and a racially aggravated public order offence.

All of these offences allegedly occurred on the same day, with Banks being charged on Friday, July 8.

Banks has become the second man in Hertfordshire to be charged under new legislation making strangulation a criminal offence, which came into operation on June 7. 

He will appear at St Albans Crown Court on August 8.

Investigator Lauren Shelley, from Hertfordshire Police's Domestic Abuse Investigation and Safeguarding Unit, said: "The victim did not wish to pursue a police investigation, however we are able to investigate independently and gather sufficient evidence for a charge.

Most Read

“Strangulation can be part of a wider pattern of domestic abuse.

"Strangling someone, even momentarily, is incredibly dangerous.”

Banks was charged under the non-fatal strangulation and suffocation legislation, part of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021.

The new strangulation legislation carries a maximum prison sentence of five years.

In the past, offenders would have been charged with ABH.

On June 8, a St Albans man became the first individual from Hertfordshire to be charged under the new legislation, making Herts police the first service in the country to utilise the power.

He will appear in court on July 25.

Those with concerns related to domestic abuse can contact the Independent Domestic Abuse Advisor service on 0300 790 6772.

In an emergency, always call 999. If you are afraid or unable to speak, call 999 from a mobile and press 5, 5.

Other domestic abuse support services in Herts include the Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline, on 08 088 088 088, or Stevenage Against Domestic Abuse, which can be contacted at SADA@stevenage.gov.uk