Man behind viral dress who pinned wife to ground and strangled her jailed

Keir Johnston turned on his terrified wife on the Isle of Colonsay and at one stage threatened 'someone is going to die'.

Man behind viral blue or white wedding dress who pinned wife to ground and strangled her jailed Police ScotlandSupplied

A man who went viral after a dress bought for his wedding “broke the internet” has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Keir Johnston turned on his terrified wife – at one stage threatening: “Somebody is going to die”.

The 39-year-old pinned his partner to the ground, choked her before also brandishing a knife.

She desperately sent messages to friends begging for help as she knew it would take police too long to get to their home on the Isle of Colonsay in the Inner Hebrides.

But the traumatised victim eventually dialled 999 yelling down the phone: “My husband is trying to kill me.”

Keir Johnston's attack on his wife came seven years after the couple gained worldwide fame for the dress the mother of the bride wore at their wedding.TheEllenShow/Youtube

The attack on March 6, 2022 came seven years after the couple gained worldwide fame for the dress the mother of the bride wore at their wedding.

It sparked a global debate over its colours – black and blue or white and gold.

It was nicknamed “The Dress That Broke the Internet” after a guest shared a photo of the garment online.

The once happy couple went on to appear on the Ellen DeGeneres Show in the USA, where they were handed $10,000 and a luxury trip to Grenada.

Petrol station attendant Johnston pled guilty at the High Court in Glasgow to assaulting the woman to her injury and danger of life.

Judge Lady Drummond said: “In her victim impact statement, she went over the emotional and psychological on her from your behaviour.

“She suffers in various aspects of her life – emotionally, psychologically and financially.

“The impact of your actions will last forever. She cannot understand your lack of remorse or empathy towards her.

“I have taken account of all the information and considered the submission that the court can deal with this with a community disposal.

“I am afraid the only appropriate sentence for a crime such as this is imprisonment.”

A ten-year harassment order was also granted restricting Johnston’s contact with the woman.

Prosecutor Chris Macintosh told how it was accepted the woman had suffered previous domestic violence – including her husband trying to strangle her – before the attack in 2022.

Mr Macintosh said: “There is no permanent police presence on the island and she was in a situation where she felt trapped.”

Days before the assault, the woman had gone to the mainland for a job – but Johnston, of Moffat, Dumfries-shire. had not wanted her to.

In the hours prior to him turning on his wife, Johnston had been drinking at a pub quiz. His wife had been elsewhere.

She got “strange texts” including him stating: “You should support me, but you do not.”

This left her “worried and anxious”, but she returned home where her husband already was.

Mr Macintosh said: “Johnston woke up and said that he was going to leave her.

“She went outside the property to stop him leaving.

“He followed her and pinned her to the ground. He placed both knees on her arms, so she was unable to move.

“He then began strangling her with both his hands.

“She was initially able to scream. She feared for her life and believed Johnston intended to kill her. He was very forceful.”

A witness heard the screams and tried to pull Johnston away.

He initially stopped and went back inside – but stormed back out threatening to “finish” his wife “off”. Johnston again choked her.

The husband was seen clutching a knife – the frightened woman managed to “keep her distance” as she believed he would stab her.

After the woman received no reply from friends, she dialled 999. The harrowing call was played in court.

A witness also raced to get her help.

She was soon discovered “crying and hyperventilating”.

She was so upset she could only partially explain her ordeal.

Johnston meantime was found hiding under a desk in his cottage still clutching a knife. He briefly put the blade to his throat at one stage, but the weapon was grabbed from him.

The victim suffered “visible” bruising and marks to her neck as a result of the assault, but needed no medical treatment.

The court heard Johnston later “alluded to previous episodes of marital violence” when talking to a doctor.

He also described bouts of “emotional distress” since he was a child.

Marco Guarino, defending, asked Lady Drummond for her to consider a non-custodial sentence.

The lawyer said: “There is no attempt to give him an excuse today for what he did.

“He understands how he came to be in this situation and it is clear from the outset what should have happened as they should have parted.

“This was a relationship which was far too volatile for each other, it became apparent that their lifestyles were diverging and he was unable to cope with that.

“He acted in a way where he requires to be punished for it.

“That punishment need not be custody as there is a lack of background and there is nothing outstanding.

“There was an emotional reaction from him for what he did and what he caused.”

Following the hearing, Police Scotland chief inspector Simon Shanks said: “Johnston is a violent individual who is now being held accountable for his despicable behaviour towards his victim.

“Their experience will undoubtedly have left a lasting impact however I hope that today’s outcome provides her with some degree of closure and helps them to move on with her life.

“We would encourage anyone who has, or is experiencing this type of crime, to have the confidence to come forward and make a report to Police Scotland on 101. There is no time limit on reporting and no matter when the abuse occurred you will be listened to, you will be supported and together we will bring the perpetrator to justice.”

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