Sunderland thugs forced victim's head through glass oven door during 'hostage' ordeal

Lee Thompson
Lee Thompson

A victim's head was forced through a glass over door during a brutal beating while he was being held "hostage" at a house by two attackers.

Robert Marsden, who has since died from unrelated causes, was found slumped in the street with severe injuries including a fractured nose, cheek and eye socket and spent 12 days in hospital after the overnight violence in March 2016.

James Dolan

James Dolan

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 36-year-old had managed to crawl away from the house where he had been held and attacked by Lee Thompson, 38, and James Dolan, 40 and was found by a passing care worker, who called an ambulance.

Mr Marsden died five months later from a ruptured spleen, which was caused by excessive alcohol consumption.

But the court heard he had been able to give detectives a detailed account of what had happened to him at the hands of his attackers in the weeks before he lost his life.

Prosecutor Paul Reid told the court: "He said he had been stamped on and possibly hit with a bat. He said his head had been forced through a glass oven door.

"Doctors found glass fragments on his chest and shoulders.

"He was treated for multiple injuries to his face, arms and body."

The court heard the two attackers had turned up at Mr Marsden's home on March 13 and they had bought drink from a garage before going to Thompson's house, which was then in Grindon, where he was imprisoned.

Mr Reid said: "He was punched, severely hurt, repeatedly punched and fell to the floor where both of them stamped on his head.

"He kept asking to leave but they wouldn't let him.

"Every time he got up he was punched. Eventually his head was put through the glass on the oven door.

"Thompson told him he wanted £400 for a new oven.

"He said he was kept hostage until morning."

In a statement made before he passed away, Mr Marsden told police he struggled to sleep and would wake every 20 minutes with a twitch, thinking he was being hit.

He said: "If I do fall asleep I wake up and don't know where I am and I get worried.

"I cannot eat."

Mr Marsden said he suffered pain in his head and stinging in his eyes in the aftermath of the violence but added: "I can sit up now a little better."

Judge Sarah Mallett said: "He was repeatedly punched and he fell to the floor and he was stamped on. He wasn't allowed to leave. When he tried to get up he was punched.

"Eventually his head was put through the glass of an oven door.

"He was, as he described, kept hostage until the early morning."

Thomspon, of Creswell Terrace, Sunderland, and Dolan, of Tadcaster Road, Sunderland, both admitted causing grievous bodily harm and false imprisonment.

Thompson was jailed for four years.

Mark Styles, defending, said Thompson was "nothing but apologetic" for his behaviour and added: "He is not proud of what happened that day. It was not a

planned attack."

Mr Styles said all three men had been drinking and taking cocaine before the trouble started.

Dolan, who had served the equivalent of a two years and eight month prison sentence on remand, was sentenced to a community order for two years with a four month, night time, curfew.

Prosecutors accept Dolan did not start the violence that night and that he did help bring it to an end.

Judge Mallett said Dolan's rehabilitation and the positive steps he has taken since his release on bail would be jeopardised if he was sent back to jail at this stage.