Pair jailed for 10 YEARS for torturing man who thought they were friends

Liam Snaith, left, and Damien Sweet have each been jailed for 10 years after torturing a man who thought they were his friends.
Liam Snaith, left, and Damien Sweet have each been jailed for 10 years after torturing a man who thought they were his friends.

A slash attack victim was left with his ear "hanging off" after he was tied up and beaten in his own home.

Jordan Hopkins had been about to go to bed at his home in, South Shields when Damian Sweet and Liam Snaith turned up late one night and subjected him to sickening violence for no reason.

The pair were convicted at Newcastle Crown Court.

The pair were convicted at Newcastle Crown Court.

During the shocking ordeal at the hands of the pair, who he thought were his friends, the 23-year-old was bound with cables, slashed with a craft knife, kicked, punched, taunted, humiliated, headbutted and had alcohol poured in his eyes.

By the end of his ordeal, Mr Hopkins, who had been in and out of consciousness during the violent onslaught, had cuts and bruises and swellings across his face and body, a bite mark to his arm and a painful break to his collarbone.

He spent three days in hospital after the attack.

He said in a victim statement: "My right ear was sliced and cut so it was hanging off and had to be glued.

I am now forever looking over my shoulder. I have flashbacks of the assault when I go to bed, nightmares of the ordeal, and I wake up in a cold sweat.

"The people that attacked me were supposed to be my friends. Now, I find it hard to trust anyone."

The court heard Mr Hopkins' physical and mental health have suffered because of the attack, and he has since moved out of his home where it happened.

Sweet, 19, and Snaith, 23, both of Whitehead Street, South Shields, pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

At Newcastle Crown Court, Judge Penny Moreland sentenced each of them to 10 years behind bars.

The judge told them: "This was a sustained assault by the two of you on him and you used a weapon to cause him injury.

"There are a number of aggravating factors. You were both under the influence of drink or drugs. There were two of you in his flat, attacking him together.

“This occurred in the complainant's own home and it included gratuitous degradation by squirting and drenching him with drink."

The court heard the attack happened on August 6 when Mr Hopkins had been out with friends and was about to go to bed when his attackers, who he had got along with as pals in the past, turned up carrying three litres of cider.

Mr Hopkins could tell they were under the influence of something and were acting "out of character", and the violence started after Snaith locked the front door and put the key in his pocket.

The court heard Mr Hopkins was asked if he "had ever been in a hostage situation before" before Snaith brought out a blade and slashed him across the left eye.

Prosecutor Mark Guiliani told the court: "The knife was then passed to Sweet."

The court heard Sweet started to carve a pattern on the victim's face and told him "you will remember me" before he used the blade to slash his cheek.

Mr Guiliani added: "He said although he could feel the cuts, he couldn't feel any pain. He attributes this to shock."

The court heard the victim was untied and dragged into the bathroom, subjected to further beating, which caused his lips to "burst open", and was then tied up again in the living room.

The victim said Sweet had a "psycho, insane" look with his "eyes bulging" during the violence.

Mr Guiliani added: "Liquid from a bottle was squirted into his eyes, which caused him to clench his eyes. He thought it may have been vodka and coke. The liquid was dark in colour.

"Then, one of the bottles of Frosty Jacks was poured over his head."

The court heard the victim drifted in an out of consciousness and was taken to a different flat, where the emergency services were called.

John Wilkinson, defending Snaith, who has convictions for disorderly behaviour but no violence, said: "He had consumed drink and a large amount of drugs on the day were are concerned with, which perhaps explains, though does not excuse, the bizarre behaviour he entered in to with his co-accused."

Paul Rooney, defending Sweet, who has no previous convictions, said: "He says he is disgusted with himself. He cannot understand why he did what he did and he wishes to apologise to him."