A disgraced solicitor has been jailed for attacking his estranged partner by driving nine miles through country lanes while he had one arm around her throat.

Philip Labrum defied a court order to stay away from his wife by tracking her down to her secret address in Stokenham, near Dartmouth, where she had moved to escape from him.

He had been abusive towards her throughout their six-year marriage and attacked her as he drove her home from a pub in Newton Abbot where he had been drinking.

She tried to get out of his van when he stopped close to the Dartmouth Golf and Country Club but he pulled her back in and drove off with her feet still dangling through the open passenger door.

He then drove her the nine miles to Stokenham while stile holding her head in a choke-hold, with his left hand, meaning he had to take his right hand off the wheel whenever he wanted to change gear.

His wife had suffered years of violence and humiliating verbal abuse and was too frightened to report the assault. Her phone was damaged in the attack and she broke down in tears after taking it to be repaired at a shop at Lee Mill the next day.

The shop assistant asked her what was wrong and she revealed what had happened. By chance the assistant was married to a police officer and called him to the store, where he noted the bruises on the victim’s head and neck.

Labrum was struck off as a solicitor after being jailed for an insurance fraud in 2010 but said nothing about it to his wife until after they were married, when he told her ‘Now we are married, you belong to me.”

He was obsessively jealous, stopped her meeting friends or even going swimming, and regularly demeaned her as fat, old and ugly. He ignored a restraining order made in 2022, when his wife was living in Dawlish and started seeing her again this summer, leading to the new attack on July 25.

Labrum, aged 61, of Deal, Kent, admitted coercive and controlling behaviour, assault causing actual bodily harm and breach of a restraining order and a previous suspended sentence.

He was jailed for a total of two years and ten months by Judge David Evans at Exeter Crown Court and a new indefinite restraining order was imposed which bans any contact with the victim other than through solicitors handling the couple’s divorce.

He told him: “It seems you like to think of yourself as merely a demanding man. The truth is that you are an arrogant and controlling individual who just did not like other people to be themselves when you can exert control over them.

“This is domestic abuse par excellence; with your legal background, you might appreciate that”

He described the assault in his van as dangerous and said it had left his wife very scared, adding to the deep psychological harm she suffered during the relationship.

Mr Nigel Wraith, prosecuting, said Labrum was subject to a suspended sentence for an earlier offence of controlling behaviour against his wife and was banned from contacting her by a restraining order made after he was cleared of an earlier assault because she failed to turn up at court to give evidence against him.

He broke the order by resuming a relationship and had been out with her at the Wetherspoon pub in Newton Abbot when they drove back to her home in Stokenham. He was abusing her verbally to such an extent that she put her fingers in her ears so she did not have to listen.

He noticed what she was doing and stopped the car to pull her hands away. She tried to get out but he pulled her back by the wrist and drove off with the door still open and her legs still trailing out of it.

Labrum carried on holding her as be drove to her house, where she was too frightened to do anything until she made her disclosure to the shop assistant the next day.

She wrote a victim personal statement which said: “He was drinking all the time. I felt dominated and frustrated and did not have the strength to stop the madness. I was not in control and was not well physically or mentally.

“I moved several times but he always found me. He appears to others as a real charmer, but he isn’t. It was horrible being constantly shouted at and put down and told I was old and ugly.

“He seemed to know every angle to avoid prosecution because of his legal background. He suffered a brain injury when he was younger and used it as an excuse for his behaviour. No-one should underestimate his devious antics.”

Miss Hollie Gilbery, defending, said Labrum would benefit more from working on his behaviour with the probation service than being sent to prison. She said Labrum has mental health issues arising from an accident in which he suffered a head injury when he was 24.