A MAN who choked his sister during an argument over tobacco said the stress of his father being admitted to hospital had put pressure on him, and he apologised for what he did.

Michael Little, 26, of Shaftesbury Avenue, Park South, was fined £155 during an appearance at Swindon Magistrates Court yesterday after admitting throttling his sister and punching her in the face and the ribs after she started shouting at him.

On April 14 this year, Little had been at home with his brother and sister when an argument broke out over some tobacco.

Little appeared before magistrates without representation and said the matter should not have got to court because the pair were sorting it out among themselves.

He said that since his father had gone into hospital he had been left as the father figure in the family and the pressure had got too much for him.

Keith Bellinger, prosecuting, said Little pinned his sister down on a bed before landing two punches to her face and ribs.

“The police were called by the defendant’s sister to reports that she had been assaulted by him,” said Mr Bellinger.

“Officers attended and were told that he had grabbed her around the throat and punched her in the face and in the ribs.

“She told police upon their arrival that they had sorted out the issues between them.

“The other brother was in the house at the time and heard the two of them arguing.

“Michael Little was arrested and, when interviewed by police, said on the night in question he had been sitting watching TV. His sister started shouting at him about tobacco.

“He admits he grabbed her around the neck and pushed her onto the bed.

“He had his hand around her neck and squeezed it, then punched her once to the face and once to the ribs. He says he regretted it and this was the first time he had ever hit a female.”

Little, speaking on his own behalf, said: “Unfortunately I now regret not getting myself a brief. The last 12 months have been very hectic at our house.

“My little brother got into trouble and the family has been very stressful for all of us.

“I tried taking charge of the house and me and my sister would clash sometimes. I can only apologise for what happened.

“I am the authority now as our old man has been hospitalised, but I will never lay down the law with my hands again.”

The chair of the bench told Little during sentencing: “You should not have got yourself in that situation, no matter how fraught or stressful.”

He was fined £50 for the offence along with £85 court costs and a £20 victim surcharge.