A 77-year-old Virginia man has been charged for allegedly strangling his 23-year-old online date after their first real-life meeting went awry, police said.

Alan Richard Schmitt was arrested at the home of the woman in Newport News, a city in Virginia, on Tuesday night (24 October) when she informed the police that the man had attacked her after the two agreed to meet following their chats on dating website Plenty of Fish.

According to the criminal complaint filed by the woman, when Schmitt showed up for their real-life meeting, he was much older than he had portrayed himself to be online. She told Schmitt that she was not interested in dating him but that they could still be friends.

Schmitt then persuaded her to accompany him to a mall where he brought her $400 (£304) worth of clothes.

When the two returned back to the house, they got into an argument and Schmitt subsequently demanded that she return the clothes that he had bought for her, including a shirt she was wearing at the time, the WAVY news website reported.

According to the police criminal complaint, "...she told him he could not have the shirt back...he grabbed her around the neck...he then threw her to the ground...and got on top of her...he proceeded to choke her causing her to struggle to breathe."

The victim "reported that, during the struggle, her necklaces got torn off of her. I observed her necklaces were in pieces, and there were small bleeding scratches around her neck," Officer Jeffrey Cumming said.

According to Schmitt, "he went to get the clothes back, and they started to argue," the police officer said.

The septuagenarian told police that the woman "stepped in front of him and pushed him in his face and he lost his balance and reached out, grabbing [her] by the neck". He also said that he was "unsure as to how she ended up on the ground as well".

Schmitt has been detained in the Newport News City Jail and charged with felony and strangling of another causing wounds or injury. He is scheduled to appear in court on 14 November.