Mum of victim ‘battered’ in pub attack says sentences were not tough enough

The mother of a victim who was ‘battered’ in a ugly attack in a Seaham pub has criticised the decision made to let his attackers walk free from court.

By Poppy Kennedy
Monday, 06 May, 2019, 09:00
Philip Smith's injuries

Philip Smith needed surgery to repair two fractured eye sockets following an unprovoked attack at the Oddfellows Arms, in Seaham, in October last year.

Lewis Patterson, 23, pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm while Jax Harrison, 31, and Robert Slater, 46, pleaded guilty to affray.

All three walked free from Durham Crown Court on Friday having been given prison sentences suspended for two years.

After the initial attack seemed to cool when members of the public in the bar intervened, Patterson threw a ‘forceful blow delivered with venom’ at Mr Smith’s face.

Mr Smith’s mum, Pearl Smith, says: “I’m disgusted at the outcome. How can anyone who battered someone - to the extent where he has to have reconstructive surgery to his face - walk out of court.

“It’s sending a signal to everyone that they can get away with anything.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous, they shouldn’t be allowed to walk the streets.

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“Anybody that did something like the damage they have deserve prison.

“It’s had a huge impact on Philip’s life and his family. It’s had an extremely detrimental impact on his mental health, he’s been unable to work and it’s putting a lot of pressure on the family financially.

“They don’t consider the impact it’s had on his family too.

“He’s been through such a difficult time after the attack. I don’t think any of us considered they wouldn’t be sent to prison.”

Philip is the brother of Shane Smith, 30, from Dawdon in Seaham, who died on the evening of April 22, 2010, when his kayak was hit by a wave 400 yards out at sea near to the North Pier in Seaham.

After nine years, the inquest into his death was held earlier this year.

Mrs Smith added: “Philip has been struggling with his mental health. He’s not had an easy life, He’s had to relive the death of his brother earlier this year after the attack happened.”