Boyfriend 'strangled girlfriend in front of baby daughter after forcing her to get on knees and declare love for him'

A MUM was strangled by her boyfriend in front of her baby after being forced to get on her knees and declare her love for him, a court heard.

Ian Paton, 36, is accused of murdering Kayleigh Hanks, 29, before ringing 999 to tell them: "I think I restrained her too hard and she'd stopped breathing."

Care worker Kayleigh was said to be "over the moon" to discover she was expecting baby Ava after being told she couldn't have more children.

But when her daughter was seven months old, the mum-of-two was strangled in front of her by her dad Paton, Hove Crown Court heard.

Jurors heard the couple had been in a turbulent on-off relationship leading up to Kayleigh's death on July 12 last year.

'FORCED TO DECLARE LOVE'

She told pals they had both been "violent" towards each other – with the court hearing how Paton once grabbed her head and slammed it into a car dashboard.

He also allegedly dragged Kayleigh from a car by her hair on another occasion.

And Emma Hanks, her sister, told how she saw Paton demanding Kayeligh get on her knees and declare her love for him.

Prosecutor Alexandra Healy QC said: "Emma says that Kayleigh did that and put her hands into a prayer position."

'SHE WENT FOR ME'

The court heard how on July 20 after visiting her sister, Kayleigh and Paton left with their baby daughter to go home to Bexhill, East Sussex.

At 12.33am, Paton then called 999 and asked to speak to the police, it was said.

He told the call handler: "She went for me, she had a knife. I restrained her and she is on the floor now.
"I think I restrained her too hard and she'd stopped breathing."

The court heard that when police arrived at the flat they found Paton standing in the doorway waiting for them.

Paton, from St Leonards, denies murder.
The trial continues.

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