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assault charge Garda believed she was going to die while being 'strangled' by her husband, court hears

Mother-of-one Meihan Meng said she had to use her fingers to tap the floor to show husband Kai Zhu she could not breathe as he choked her during a row.

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Kai Zhu

Kai Zhu

Kai Zhu

A GARDA believed she was going to die as her businessman husband "strangled" her on the kitchen floor of their home during a domestic attack, a court heard.

Mother-of-one Meihan Meng said she had to use her fingers to tap the floor to show husband Kai Zhu she could not breathe as he choked her during a row.

Kai Zhu (39), an importer of vital PPE equipment during the pandemic, has admitted assaulting her but disputes the extent of the violence and maintains his wife "started this" by hitting him with a child's chair.

A former personal trainer, he told investigating gardai: “It was a domestic fight, I didn’t realise it was so serious. In China it is common."

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Meihan Meng pictured leaving Dublin Circuit Court

Meihan Meng pictured leaving Dublin Circuit Court

Meihan Meng pictured leaving Dublin Circuit Court

Judge Karen O'Connor adjourned sentencing at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Zhu pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to his wife, and criminal damage to a phone at their then home at Sallymount Avenue, Ranelagh, on May 14 last year.

Garda Oliver McStravick told the court Ms Meng said in a statement she arrived home that morning following a lengthy work shift needing sleep and asked her husband to take their daughter out to play.

He was "ignoring" her as he prepared food in the kitchen and she called his mother in China on Facetime.

She asked Zhu what was wrong with him and he turned around and slapped her across the face, she said, before punching her five to six times.

She said he used his left hand to choke her against a press while slapping and punching her with his right hand.

Ms Meng said she blacked out after one of the blows and told Zhu “you have just punched me six times, why are you so angry?"

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Kai Zhu

Kai Zhu

Kai Zhu

He then lifted her up holding her neck, she said, and kept punching her face as he dragged her to the living room, where he pushed her down on the floor and started hitting her again.

He dragged her back to the kitchen and tried to close the door, she said. He got on top of her, slapped her face and she felt a sharp pain and lost her hearing.

His mother was still on Facetime and the accused grabbed the phone and smashed it.

Ms Meng told gardai when Zhu was choking her she “thought she was going to die because it was done so hard.”

A medical report stated she had contusions, bruising and swelling to her face and clinical signs of a fracture to the base of the skull, but this did not show up in a CT scan.

There was also a reference to “attempted compression” of the neck, diminished hearing and psychological distress.
In interview, Zhu said it was a small home, they were both under stress and an altercation started "because of trivial family issues.”

He said his wife hit him with their child’s chair and he “got angry and started to fight with her.”

He said he slapped her on the mouth, she grabbed his collar, he slapped her again and she punched his eye. He slapped her “maybe 10 times” and did not intend to hurt her, he said.

He said it was “just slaps” and denied choking her, saying he put his arm on her chest to push her away.

“If I were to punch her it wouldn’t look like this, I was a personal trainer back in China,” he said of photos of her injuries.

He accepted he threw the phone on the ground because he did not want his mother to see them fight.

In a victim impact statement, Ms Meng said the assault was “life-threatening, frightening, unfamiliar and scary.”

She said Zhu used his two hands to strangle her until she lost consciousness.

“When I opened my eyes, he was still on top of me with one hand gripped around my neck,” she said. “I believed I would be dead, plain and simple, as I could only see all red and black from my eyes and I could barely breathe. I used my fingers to tap the floor to indicate to him that I could not breathe.”

When taken to hospital she said she had clearly visible fingermarks around her neck and face.

“After the assault I was questioning myself about where did I go wrong, and why he would hate me so much,” she said.

Ms Meng said she had difficulty sleeping, had nightmares and lost 20kg in weight.

She said she was still in a lot of fear but was “strong and independent” and “I refuse to live my life as a victim of him.”

Defence barrister Keith Spencer said Zhu was remorseful and “can only apologise for his completely disproportionate actions” but was “adamant that he did not start the physical altercation.”

Zhu had been importing PPE for use in the pandemic, had spent three weeks in custody after his arrest, and his life had been “destroyed” but he was trying to rebuild it.

The relationship had now irretrievably broken down.

Mr Spencer said “the times conspired to bring this about” and the incident happened in a situation that “many families find themselves in at the moment”- -confined to a small physical space, irritable and frustrated.

This “erupted into a situation that should never have occurred," he said.

The hearing continues next Wednesday.

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