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I was left for dead when I ditched my man.

Byline: By Brenda Hickman and Garry Willey

Strangler Dale Wardle left a girlfriend for dead ( then pretended a burglar did it in a bogus confession letter to the Chronicle.

During the assault in the 38-year-old mum-of-two's Gateshead home, Wardle wrenched back her hair and punched her before she passed out.

Now the 39-year-old is facing years behind bars.

Today the woman, who can't be identified for legal reasons, said: "I thought I had died on the kitchen floor but woke up naked with cigarette burns on my body and my face black and blue."

Wardle throttled his victim with her pyjama top until she was unconscious during the attack last summer. She believes the stretchy material saved her life. When she saw her injuries in a mirror all the blood vessels in her face had burst due to the strangulation.

The woman said she met Wardle on the internet and began seeing him for the odd weekend for nearly a year.

He had travelled to Tyneside and she visited the home he shared with his parents in Huyton, Liverpool.

But she soon tried to end the relationship. Wardle refused to accept it was over and attacked her on July 9 last year.

Wardle was due to go on trial at Newcastle Crown Court but a new charge was put to him as it was about to begin.

Wardle denied strangling with intent to commit a sex offence, but admitted assault causing bodily harm and perverting justice by sending the fake confession - purporting to be a conscience-stricken burglar days after the attack.

His victim broke her silence to encourage victims of domestic violence to contact police.

She said: "I had an instinct about him and I tried to end it, but he kept saying that he knew I loved him.

"I'm an independent woman, I have two children who mean the world to me and he was too over the top ( he tried to hard to take over my life.

"We had booked a holiday to America and it had been paid for mainly by him, but I told him I would only go as friends."

The woman told of the attack after neighbours had gone back to her place for a drink following a barbecue.

She said: "After the neighbours left he grabbed my hair and punched me. I felt dizzy, and as I had also been drinking, and I ended up lying on the kitchen floor. I woke up and he was on top of me and there was a struggle. It was all a blur after that but he wrapped the pyjama top around my neck and pulled it. I must have passed out. I thought I had died but then I came round again and I was still lying on the kitchen floor. He was lying next to me, watching me. He didn't say anything."

The victim said, thankfully, her children had been on a sleep-over at a neighbours and hadn't witnessed the attack.

"I got into bed and he lay next to me and then said he wanted to go to McDonalds to get our breakfast. I knew I had to get help when he had left," she said.

"It was only when I saw my reflection in the mirror that I began shaking. My face was black and blue as blood vessels had burst. There were cigarette burns on my stomach, between my breasts, and the pelvic area. I went into a shock. I somehow managed to get to my neighbours and showed them my injuries. They called for an ambulance and the police."

Wardle was charged and given bail. It was then he sent the fake confession letter to the Chronicle in a bid to make people believe an intruder carried out the attack.

"I feel as if I'm crumbling inside," added the victim. "I'll only start getting my life back after he is sentenced and I can see justice."

Mr Recorder Burn remanded Wardle in custody for sentence and told him he faced a substantial sentence.

The mum said: "He left me for dead in my own home, my children could have been without a mother. I just want him to be locked up for a very long time."

Det Insp Ged Noble of Gateshead CID said: "I cannot comment on this individual offender until he is sentenced.

"However, Northumbria Police is committed to taking a hard line with domestic abusers."

Penny Moreland, prosecuting said a decision had been taken to accept Wardle's pleas after consultation with Crown lawyers, police and the woman. Carl Gumsley, defending, said: "With the exception of an unrelated matter some 11 years ago he is a man of good character."
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 2, 2007
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