'Paranoid' Sunderland dad whipped partner with phone charger and made her clean up urine from bathroom floor, court told

A Sunderland dad has been jailed for beating his partner after his three-month campaign of coercion spilled into violence.

Richard Smithson, 32, punched his partner of 14 years on the arms and legs and whipped her with a cable charger, a court heard.

During the same incident, Smithson, of Keighley Square, Downhill, urinated on their bathroom floor – and made her clean it up.

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On another occasion, he smashed her mobile phone, which prosecutor Jonathan Stirland said was her lifeline to the outside world.

Richard Smithson.

The abuse between June and September became so bad the woman feared Smithson could “actually kill me” – and she fled to a hotel.

In a victim statement, she said of the attack on Sunday, June 26: “He was being paranoid and claiming that I was cheating.

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“He has lashed out and punched me on the arms and legs. He picked up a cable charger and hit me a number of times to the body.

“He would never punch me to the face. He did cause bruises. He used the phone charger to whip me, one was on the back and once on the legs.”

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Mr Stirland said Smithson kept her in the bedroom while he urinated on the floor then “dragged her into the bathroom to make her clear it up”.

South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard Smithson constantly checked her mobile phone messages and her Facebook account to see who she was contacting.

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He also ordered her to look at him while he spoke and to repeat back his words, it was said.

In her statement, she also said: “He is very controlling and has been violent in the past. He has hit me in the past.

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“I do think that he could go too far and actually kill me. That terrifies me.”

Mr Stirland added: “It’s a powerful statement. There’s allegations of assault and criminal damage of the mobile phone.

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“It’s a serious domestic abuse case involving assaults and coercive behaviour.”

Smithson pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, controlling and coercive behaviour and causing criminal damage.

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The Probation Service told the hearing Smithson had a history of violence including against another partner and used alcohol and cannabis.

Angus Westgarth, defending, claimed Smithson could be rehabilitated if he worked with support services.

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Mr Westgarth added: “He doesn’t accept all these allegations, but he accepts most. He has pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.”

District Judge Zoe Passfield told tearful Smithson his victim had been his “partner, not his property”.

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Judge Passfield said he had “degraded” her with his behaviour and had made threats to kill her.

She jailed him for 12 months for coercive behaviour, six months for assault and seven days for criminal damage, all to run concurrently.

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The judge also imposed a three-year restraining order, banning him from contacting the woman except via a third party for child contact.