Thug who ordered Sunderland man to drink ammonia - then squirted it in his face when he refused - has sentence cut

The Court of Appeal, London
The Court of Appeal, London

A thug who woke a sleeping Sunderland man to squirt ammonia in his face had his sentence slashed by senior judges today.

Paul Smith, 56, was jailed for three years seven months at Newcastle Crown Court in March after he admitted causing grievous bodily harm.

The attack came after Smith - flanked by two women - stormed into the Sunderland home of Craig Campbell in March last year.

They hauled Mr Campbell out of bed and into the living room - where one of the women stabbed him in the shoulder.

A bottle of ammonia was then produced and Mr Campbell was ordered to drink it, Mr Justice Nicol told London's Appeal Court today.

When he refused, Smith squirted the toxic liquid into his face, causing "excruciating pain".

The victim managed to escape from the flat and was treated in hospital, but has since made a good recovery, the court heard.

Smith, of Bentinck Terrace, Newcastle, challenged his sentence today, claiming it was far too tough.

His legal team pointed out that the woman who stabbed Mr Campbell received a far shorter sentence of 15 months.

Mr Justice Nicol, sitting with Lord Justice Hickinbottom and Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb, agreed that Smith's sentence was "too long".

Smith had pleaded guilty on the basis that he had no involvement in the stabbing, the court heard.

And the appeal judge noted: "Maybe he was reckless as to the harm that could have been caused by the ammonia.

"But, fortunately, there was no great degree of harm."

Smith's sentence went down by seven months, to three years.