Man linked to ‘dress that broke the internet’ accused of trying to murder wife

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A man who found himself at the centre of an internet storm when a dress worn at his wedding “broke the internet” has been charged with attempting to murder his wife.

Keir and Grace Johnston, from the remote island of Colonsay in the Hebrides off the Scottish mainland, hit the headlines in 2015 when a guest at their wedding posted a picture of an outfit, questioning whether it was black and blue or white and gold.

Keir and Grace Johnston appeared on Ellen to discuss the debate around the colour of the dress.Credit: EllenTube

The debate went viral with millions of people across the globe, including Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift, wading in.

Dubbed the “dress that broke the internet”, the conundrum saw the couple invited onto a US chat show and given $10,000 for revealing that the dress was actually black and blue.

Allegations of coercive control

Debate about the colour of the dress – blue and black or white and gold – went viral in 2015.

But Johnston has now appeared in court in Glasgow accused of attempting to murder his wife following an alleged lengthy campaign of domestic violence and coercive control.

The 38-year-old is accused of repeatedly assaulting his wife at their home on the remote Inner Hebridean island.

The charges include allegations that between April 2019 and March 2022, he pushed his wife against a wall, shouted at her, throttled her and brandished a knife at her.

He is also accused of placing his wife in a headlock and dragging her from a pub after she refused to leave with him.

Prosecutors claim the alleged abuse culminated in an incident on March 6, 2022 when Johnston is accused of pinning his wife to the ground and compressing her neck.

The Crown alleges Johnston’s actions were with the intent to murder his wife.

Denies all charges

Johnston is also accused of coercive control, isolating his wife from her friends, monitoring her movements and controlling her finances.

Johnston denies all charges against him, with the case continued for a further preliminary hearing ahead of a trial in 2024.

The internet debate around the dress caused such a sensation in 2015 that it featured in a domestic abuse campaign run by the Salvation Army.

An advert featured a bruised and beaten woman clad in a white and gold dress with the tagline: “Why is it so hard to see black and blue? The only illusion is if you think it was her choice. One in six women are victims of abuse. Stop abuse against women.”

The Telegraph, London

Support is available from the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service at 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).

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