Man behind viral dress pleads guilty to endangering wife’s life

Man behind viral dress pleads guilty to endangering wife’s life

A man who went viral after a dress bought for his wedding “broke the internet” has pleaded guilty to endangering his wife’s life after admitting to strangling her.

Keir Johnston, 38, pleaded guilty to the attack at the high court in Glasgow on Thursday and was remanded in custody until a sentence is passed next month.

Johnston and his wife, Grace, who lived on the Isle of Colonsay after their 2015 marriage, found fame when the mother of the bride wore a dress that caused a global debate over its true colours – black and blue or white and gold.

The blue and black dress.View image in fullscreen

Named “the dress that broke the internet”, it turned into a social media storm when Caitlin McNeill, a guest at the wedding, first shared an image on Tumblr, appealing for help in solving the colour dilemma.

Celebrities including Kim Kardashian and Ellen DeGeneres were caught up in the debate, with the latter inviting the couple on to her talkshow, where they were handed $10,000 (£7,974) and a trip to Grenada.

However, the court heard that behind closed doors Grace Johnston feared for her life. Keir Johnston turned on his wife at their home on the remote Scottish island on 6 March 2022 and threatened her, saying: “Someone is going to die.”

Chris Macintosh, the prosecutor for the crown, told the judge, Lady Drummond, and the court how Grace lived in fear of her abusive husband. He said: “There is no permanent police presence on the island, and she was in a situation where she felt trapped.”

Grace had defied her husband’s demands not to attend a job interview on the mainland and days later found herself in a life-threatening situation. On the day of the attack, Johnston was drinking at a pub quiz and sent several messages to his wife, with one reading: “You should support me but you do not.”

Grace later returned home where Johnston awoke from his sleep and announced he would be leaving her. The couple then went outside their cottage where Johnston grabbed Grace and threw her to the ground.

Macintosh said: “Johnston woke up and said that he was going to leave her. She went outside the property to stop him leaving. He followed her and pinned her to the ground.

“He placed both knees on her arms, so she was unable to move. He then began strangling her with both his hands. She was initially able to scream and feared for her life and believed Johnston intended to kill her as he was very forceful.”

Despite suffering severe bruising from the attack, Grace did not require medical treatment.

The defending lawyer, Marco Guarino, told how Johnston had accepted responsibility for the assault. However, Lady Drummond denied Johnston bail and placed him in custody, saying: “I have no need to tell you that this is a serious and violent offence.

“You repeatedly strangled her, injured her and put her life in danger in what must have been absolutely terrifying circumstances for her. I am afraid, Mr Johnston, that your status has now changed, you have been convicted of a very serious crime and you will be remanded meantime.”

Johnston will be sentenced on 6 June.