Loved-up lifeguard, 24, battered boyfriend and drove over his phone after he confessed to kissing another woman

Matilda Sutherland-Young beaming outside the Old Bailey
-Credit: (Image: MyLondon)


A loved-up lifeguard flew off the handle and battered her boyfriend after he admitted kissing another woman on a night out. Matilda Sutherland-Young, or Tilly to her friends, punched and strangled Roderick Webster, threw his phone out of the window, then stormed outside and finished the mobile off with her car, reacting in a fit of rage to his admission of infidelity on July 7 last year.

The 24-year-old, of East Crescent in Enfield Town, beamed to her family as she left the Old Bailey on Thursday (May 6), sporting ruby red heels and a crimson crewneck, having just been spared prison in favour of an 18 month community order. Sutherland-Young previously admitted GBH, strangulation with intent, and criminal damage at Highbury Magistrates' in April.

The court heard Sutherland-Young had been with Mr Webster since November 2021 - her first serious relationship - and there had never been issues of violence or aggression. The couple were not living together, but Mr Webster had moved into the spare room of a property owned by Sutherland-Young's godmother and was working from home on the day of the attack.

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Matilda Sutherland-Young beaming outside the Old Bailey after a near miss with His Majesty's pleasure
Sutherland-Young beaming outside the Old Bailey after a near miss with His Majesty's pleasure -Credit:MyLondon

The night before Mr Webster was out with work colleagues and had kissed another woman. Feeling 'ashamed and remorseful', he decided to come clean to his girlfriend but was met with fists, prosecutor Emma Antonelli told the court.

"They were both in the bedroom. She sat on the bed. He sat next to her and told her what happened. When he told her, she got up from the bed onto her feet and she aggressively jumped onto him. She said she never loved him and she hated him," Ms Antonelli said, referring to Mr Webster's account.

"She began to punch him with both hands all over his upper body. He placed his head down and raised both arms over his head. He said the punching was getting to him. He got a lot of bruises and was in pain.

"He said Ms Sutherland-Young pulled his hair and choked him with both her hands. He placed his hand around her wrist and tried to stop her. She then leaned forward and locked teeth onto his wrist and bit him. This bite did not break the skin but left reddening and teeth marks on his wrist. He released his grip because it was painful.

"She then punched him on the left eye, which caused a lot of pain. It caused him to become dizzy and confused. His eye felt hot and bruised. When she saw this she stopped attacking him."

'Threw his phone out of the window after he begged her not to'

At this point Sutherland-Young sat down, offered to take Mr Webster to hospital, and asked him not to press charges. But the peaceful interlude ended when she flew back into a rage and threatened to lob his phone out the second-floor window. After Mr Webster begged her not to, she did it anyway.

Sutherland-Young then threatened to crack his laptop over her knee, but Mr Webster managed to stop her. Still not done, she then threatened to drive over his phone with her car. While Mr Webster did not witness the phone-crushing, Sutherland-Young left the room and appeared a short while later with his phone damaged beyond repair.

"In his opinion, he thought she had driven over it and stabbed it with something," added Ms Antonelli. Sutherland-Young then left the property, leaving Mr Webster to take himself to hospital for treatment to his various injuries.

There doctors noted his sensitivity to light, swelling to his left eye-socket, a scratch mark to his neck, a bite mark to his wrist, and numbness to his left hand. After an initial discharge, Mr Webster returned to hospital for plastic surgery on August 4 where he had a metal plate inserted with two screws to mend his fractured cheek bone.

'Incredible pain'

Matilda Sutherland-Young beaming outside the Old Bailey after a near miss with His Majesty's pleasure
Sutherland-Young broke her boyfriend's cheekbone with multiple blows to the face -Credit:MyLondon

In a victim impact statement made on April 2, Mr Webster said the injuries had healed but there was still scarring to his eye. "While it's not noticeable to others," he said, "I'm constantly reminded of the assault when I look in the mirror." Remembering the 'incredible pain', Mr Webster added: "While I'm glad she has been convicted, I do not think I will ever fully heal from this."

Some 20 days after the attack, following a report by Mr Webster, Sutherland-Young was stopped by police in the Thames Valley area and arrested. She was later charged with three offences.

On Thursday, Ms Antonelli argued the strangulation was an aggravating feature of the 'persistent' assault, and pointed the judge towards case law that highlights how seriously the courts take choking 'regardless of gender'.

While she conceded the attack was 'impulsive and spontaneous', Ms Antonelli argued it had taken place in a domestic context, owing to their intimate relationship and the violation of trust such an attack represents. The prosecutor also reminded the court 'provocation is no mitigation', in regards to Mr Webster's admission he had been unfaithful.

"There's been no incidents since. The relationship is over. It was a one off response to hurtful information," added Ms Antonelli.

'She felt utterly humiliated'

Matilda Sutherland-Young beaming outside the Old Bailey
Sutherland-Young must complete 150 hours of unpaid work within 12 months -Credit:MyLondon

Defence counsel Beth Crocker said her client was 'petrified' to appear at the Central Criminal Court and her life had been 'blighted' by the loss of her previous 'exemplary' record as she called for the judge to spare her a prison sentence.

"Ms Sutherland-Young is a young woman who is full of promise and has acted in a way which is completely out of character for her," said Ms Crocker. Character references described Sutherland-Young as 'kind', never displaying violence, and someone who normally 'commands an enormous amount of respect' in her role as a swimming teacher.

Giving some context to the assault, she said: "As she did strike Mr Webster, she told him how she never loved him. In fact, he was her first serious partner and the first man she ever loved. She had put an extreme amount of effort into the relationship and hoped it would move forward."

Explaining her client's reaction to the bad news, she said: "She felt utterly humiliated and that's why she behaved in the way she did. She accepts it was impulsive."

Ms Crocker went on to highlight Sutherland-Young's 'superb' work ethic, the stress of criminal proceedings, and her frank admission to the offences. "She was extremely up front... There was no messing around," added the barrister, "She accepts these are serious offences and Mr Webster suffered, but, in my submission, she has also suffered a huge amount. We are dealing with somebody who flies into a rage and it was probably over very quickly."

Ms Crocker then claimed, as instructed by her client, that the act of intentional strangulation, to which Sutherland-Young pleaded guilty, was a one-handed attempt to grab Mr Webster's necklace, which she had gifted him, and not a double-handed chokehold. "When one looks at the actual strangulation, and the injuries in the photograph, the strangulation itself is not the most serious type it could be," argued Ms Crocker.

'Not a classic case of domestic abuse'

Matilda Sutherland-Young beaming outside the Old Bailey
Sutherland-Young was given no separate penalty for strangulation or criminal damage -Credit:MyLondon

Judge Sarah Whitehouse KC recalled the assault and the injuries to Mr Webster as she considered her sentence. "[Mr Webster] found the whole process extremely draining and he does not feel he will ever have closure," she said, "Any attack in the course of a relationship has a lasting effect on people and that's why domestic violence is always treated very seriously by the courts."

But Judge Whitehouse added she did "not view it as being a classic case of domestic abuse" as she pointed Sutherland-Young's 'great deal of mitigation'. "You did this, I am satisfied, out of an overwhelming rush of emotion and sense of being betrayed by Mr Webster, and humiliation," said the judge, adding: "You are plainly remorseful."

She also considered Sutherland-Young's apology letter, which said she was 'truly sorry' and had been 'searching the depths of her soul for how she could do these things'. While Judge Whitehouse acknowledged Sutherland-Young poses a medium risk of reoffending, she reasoned there would be 'no assistance' from a short prison sentence, suspended or otherwise.

"I'm going to pass a community order of 18 months," the judge told Sutherland-Young, ordering her to do 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days and 150 hours of unpaid work for the GBH. Sutherland-Young was given no separate penalty for strangulation or criminal damage, but must pay £517 in compensation for the broken phone, and £150 towards prosecution costs with a £114 victim surcharge.

Explaining the possibility of a prison sentence if she fails to complete her community order, Judge Whitehouse added: "I'm sure you have no desire whatever to return to this court to be resentenced. But it is my duty to explain what will happen if you do not."

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