A MAN has been acquitted of strangling his ex-partner.

Richard Waterhouse exhaled a huge sigh of relief and raised his hands in prayer as a jury of six men and women returned a unanimous not guilty verdict.

The 35-year-old of Chancellor Road, Southend, had always denied causing the woman actual bodily harm, which he had allegedly done by repeatedly strangling and hitting her in Basildon.

Basildon Crown Court heard that the woman alleged he had attacked her after she refused to buy him drugs.

But the jury returned their unanimous verdict of not guilty this morning.

Oliver Kirk, prosecuting, still invited Recorder Paul Sharkey to impose a restraining order against the woman.

However, Recorder Sharkey felt it "would not be appropriate" due to Waterhouse serving a prison term for another offence until 2024, and that the relationship between him and the woman had been short.