A MAN who strangled his ex-partner in Largs during a row over his drug use has been told he’ll have to wait to find out his fate.

Kyle McWilliam attacked the woman as she drove them through the town towards her home.

The 36-year-old pleaded guilty to assaulting the woman and behaving in a threatening or abusive manner towards her in the incident on December 5 last year.

A hearing at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court was told McWilliam had been in a relationship with the woman for some four months at the time.

Fiscal depute Craig Wainwright said the woman decided to break off the relationship around December 3, but that McWilliam, who had been living with her at her home in the town, remained there briefly after the end of their time together.

Mr Wainwright said McWilliam and his ex had been in a car together travelling back from a visit to a pharmacy when an argument broke out over his use of controlled drugs.

McWilliam, currently a prisoner at HMP Greenock, began shouting and swearing at the woman and demanding money from her.

After a struggle in which McWilliam grabbed hold of the woman, he took her mobile phone and handbag, which contained her bank card.

McWilliam, the court heard, smacked the woman on the face and grabbed a hold of her neck, causing her to struggle for breath.

Her head was hit off the car window during the struggle, but she eventually managed to pull away from McWilliam, who, the court was told, had said he “wanted to hurt her”.

A neighbour who was putting out his bin heard the woman’s scream for help and saw she was in distress, but McWilliam shouted that she was “being f*****g stupid”.

The neighbour’s wife came outside to help and noted the woman was crying; she told McWilliam to get out of the car, which he eventually did, still saying the situation was “f*****g stupid”.

McWilliam gave his ex her belongings back before leaving the scene; the victim thanked the neighbours before driving to her mother’s home to report the incident to police.

McWilliam, who moved back to his home town of Dumfries to stay with family after the incident, eventually handed himself in at Saltcoats police office on December 11.

McWilliam’s solicitor said her client had been “serious” about the relationship and had given up his previous accommodation in West Kilbride to move in with him.

But the lawyer said “drugs have been the main issue for him throughout his adult life”.

She told Sheriff Murdoch MacTaggart that McWilliam was keen to get over his issues with substances and had support behind him, with his grandmother, who was described as “the main figure in his life”, present in court.

Also in court was a representative from the Inverclyde Faith in Throughcare charity, which supports people returning to the community from prison and which has been working with McWilliam during his time on remand in Greenock.

The court was also told that McWilliam had briefly reconciled with the complainer, who had visited him in prison and who wrote a letter to the sheriff saying that she “just wanted him to get help with his drug use”.

The solicitor also said McWilliam had been drug-free for a year before the incident and had remained clean in prison, without accessing substitutes.

Sheriff MacTaggart said he would defer sentence for background reports – though this appeared to frustrate McWilliam, who said from the dock: “I just need help with my recovery and I just seem to be hitting brick walls.”

McWilliam was returned to custody and will be brought back to court for sentencing at a later date.