The Telegraph 2024-06-07 09:30:54


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Man behind dress that ‘broke the internet’ jailed for throttling his wife

A man behind the viral photograph of a dress that “broke the internet” has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison for throttling his wife.

Keir Johnston, 39, pinned his partner Grace to the ground, choked her and brandished a knife at their home on the Isle of Colonsay in the Inner Hebrides in March 2022.

Johnston, a petrol station attendant from Moffat in Dumfriesshire, choked his wife for around 20 seconds, Glasgow’s High Court heard on Thursday.

During the assault, Mrs Johnston managed to dial 999 and tell police “my husband is trying to kill me”.

Judge Lady Drummond said: “Initially she was able to scream. She feared for her life and believed you intended to kill her.

“You were very forceful. The strangling lasted about 20 seconds. She did not lose consciousness but felt very close to doing so.”

Seven years ago, the couple had gained worldwide attention after a picture of the dress Mrs Johnston’s mother wore to their wedding was posted online.

It was nicknamed “the dress that broke the internet” after the image sparked debate from hundreds of thousands as to whether the dress was black and blue, or white and gold.

The furore attracted replies from celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Taylor Swift, Demi Lovato and Justin Bieber.

Ellen DeGeneres, the US talk show host, invited the couple onto her show in the US where they were given $10,000 and a luxury trip to Grenada.

Last month, Johnston pled guilty to assaulting Mrs Johnston to her injury and the danger of life.

Judge Lady Drummond said: “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.”

Hours before the assault, Johnston had been drinking at a pub and sent strange texts to his wife that said: “You should support me, but you do not.”

When she arrived home, he said he wanted a separation.

He later followed her outside, pinning her to the ground.

The husband was seen clutching a knife with Mrs Johnston managing to “keep her distance” as she feared he would stab her.

Prosecutor Chris Macintosh said Mrs Johnston had been a victim of domestic violence before the attack in 2022.

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

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

Mr Guarino 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.”

A 10-year harassment order was also granted restricting Johnston’s contact with his wife.

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Body found in search for two-year-old boy who fell in river

A body has been found in the search for two-year-old Xielo Maruziva, who fell into the River Soar in February, police have said.

A search was launched to find Xielo after Leicestershire Police received reports that the boy, who was with family members, fell into the water on Feb 18 in the Aylestone Meadows nature reserve, close to Marsden Lane, in Leicester.

The body was found on Thursday morning by “workers carrying out work in the area” near the river, the force said.

Formal identification is yet to take place but the coroner has been informed and Xielo’s family are being supported by specialist officers.

‘Horrendous and unimaginable’

Asst Chief Constable Michaela Kerr said: “This is devastating news and our thoughts are with Xielo’s family.

“We are so sorry to bring them this news, which we were all dreading, and our full support is being provided to them at this most difficult time.

“Formal identification will now take place and we ask that the family’s privacy is respected at this time.”

She added: “Full support is also being provided to the workers who were in the area of Aylestone Meadows this morning and I want to thank them for their support and co-operation in the most horrendous and unimaginable circumstances.”

Ms Kerr further thanked everyone involved in the search, as well as the wider community and members of the public.

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