Sunderland ex-soldier spared jail over savage attack on girlfriend which fractured her eye socket

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A former soldier who fractured his girlfriend’s eye socket in a savage attack at her home has today been spared jail.

Robert Smithson repeatedly punched and kicked the woman when they got back to the house after a night out last November.

This is an exceptional case. This kind of offending almost invariably merits immediate custody. But I am prepared to give you an opportunity, given your background.

Judge Penny Moreland

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 24-year-old cleaned up rooms after the attack in a bid to destroy any evidence against him.

The court heard the attack started in the bathroom at the house, where Smithson was “punching her repeatedly”.

The violence continued when she went into the bedroom and then into the kitchen, where she had blood pouring from her nose.

Smithson stopped her from ringing the police when she tried to call for help.

Judge Penny Moreland sentenced Smithson, of Lumley Street, Millfield, Sunderland, who admitted causing grievious bodily harm and common assault, to two years’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with supervision and programme requirements.

He was ordered to pay £1,050 costs.

Judge Moreland said: “She was badly bruised and, more seriously, she sustained a fractured eye socket.

“This was, in my view, a sustained assault on a woman who was vulnerable in her own home.

“This involved the use of a foot and kicking, although there is no evidence whether you were wearing shoes or not.”

The court heard Smithson has suffered mental health difficulties after his discharge from the Army, where he was a “successful soldier”.

Judge Moreland told him: “This is an exceptional case. This kind of offending almost invariably merits immediate custody.

“But I am prepared to give you an opportunity, given your background.”

The judge said Smithson’s involvement with the probation service would provide protection for the victim and any future woman he has a relationship with.