Sunderland man split his wife’s head open – then got released from prison because his jail sentence was ‘too harsh’

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A LEADING domestic violence campaigner has condemned the decision to free a Sunderland man jailed for an attack on his wife.

Claire Phillipson was speaking after judges ruled Grant Lee Johnson’s sentence had been too harsh.

The 44-year-old left wife Sharon with a split head and a broken wrist after pushing her over during a domestic argument.  

Johnson told police he loved his wife after the argument in February 2012 row descended into violence.

Self-employed tiler Johnson, of Windmill Square, Fulwell, was jailed for a year at Newcastle Crown Court in July for inflicting grievous bodily harm.

But Lord Justice Lloyd Jones, Mr Justice Nicol and Mr Justice Lindblom, sitting at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, have ordered his release and replaced his jail term with a nine-month suspended sentence.

The court heard Johnson told police that he “loved his wife” when they were called to his home after she fled to the local Metro station in her pyjamas.

However, he also said to a policeman when challenged: “Look, mate, it’s just a domestic – I pushed her and she split her head open.”

Lawyers for Johnson argued that his crime had been placed in too high a bracket of seriousness.

Mr Justice Nicol concluded: “It seems to us that the sentence was too severe.

“We doubt whether the injuries were serious in the context of the offence of grievous bodily harm.”

Wearside Women in Need boss Ms Phillipson said: “If you can get a year for punching, but not injuring, a police horse, how can it be too harsh for a man attacking his partner and breaking her wrist?

“This is the kind of thinking that makes domestic violence campaigners, victims and the general public despair of the judiciary.

“Everyone want tougher sentences for people who are violent, but time and again victims are let down by the system.”