Sunderland man brutally attacked ex-partner after claiming she 'turned child against him'

John Smart
John Smart

A father who launched a sickening attack on the mother of his child after the youngster refused to give him a hug has been jailed.

John Smart became enraged when his young daughter wouldn't give him a hug - and believed the mother had turned the child against him.

The 28-year-old, who was already subjected to a restraining order against the woman, headbutted, punched and choked her in front of the “hysterical” child in October last year.

Prosecutor Mark Giulinai told Newcastle Crown Court how the couple had been together three-and-a-half years ago, but later split up.

He said: “They have a young daughter as a result of their relationship.

“She was at her home and the defendant had come to see their daughter. He asked his daughter for a cuddle and she said she did not want one.

“He took umbrage to that because he thought it was as a result of the mother had turned the daughter against him.

“He head butted her and started punching her in the face at the bottom of the staircase in her home.”

Mr Giulinai explained how he then began to strangle the woman and pushed her - causing her to fall over a shoe rack and injure her knee.

He added: “There was a serious visible injury to the knee which was visibly swollen. The knee was placed in a splint.

“In her written statement she said that she was scared maybe more for her daughter than herself.

“Her daughter became hysterical. The woman was frightened about what may happen to her in front of her daughter.”

Smart, of Silksworth Hall Drive, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, pleaded guilty to breaching a restraining order and GBH.

The court heard how the defendant had previous convictions of battery, harassment, criminal damage and breach of a restraining order - some in relation to the same victim.

Alec Burns, defending, told the court how the couple were “on and off”, and said that the victim was aware there was a restraining order in place.

He said: “He would say that they were back together off and on for several years.

“He does not wish to see this lady again but will wish to see his daughter. He accepts the restraining order is there and wishes not to breach it again.”

Mr Burns also said that the defendant was looking to find work in the demolition industry.

Sentencing him to three years and three months in prison, Judge Simon Batiste said: “This is a serious matter.

“You are 28-years-old and have a significant record for a number of offences of common assault on the same victim.

“You attended the home address of the victim to some contact with your daughter.

“When your daughter did not hug you you took the view it was her turning your child against you.

“You have no victim awareness and no remorse. The only significant mitigation is of your guilty plea.”