A man who attacked his partner by strangling him, gouging his eye and biting his ear, before banging his head against the base of a fence post, has escaped being jailed.
It was Ben Watson’s previous good character and ‘personal problems’ which a judge at Warwick Crown Court said had saved him from an immediate prison sentence for the drunken attack.
Watson (29) of Thomas Landsdail Street, Cheylesmore, Coventry, at the time, had pleaded guilty to assaulting Adam Lolley causing him actual bodily harm and damaging his phone.
He was sentenced to ten months in prison suspended for two years and was ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work.
Prosecutor Jason Pegg said: “This is a domestic violence incident in June, when the defendant was in a relationship with Mr Lolley.”
On June 10 the two men were in a local pub, where Watson had become inebriated, and after Mr Lolley had given a friend a lift home Watson, who had continued drinking, asked whether they had been having sex.
They then left the pub and went to a night club in the city centre, but Watson was refused entry because of his state, so they went home.
“When they arrived home, the atmosphere was still bad, and the defendant became heated.
“He jumped on him and put his hands round his neck, and then released his grip with one hand and punched him a number of times to the face as he was struggling to breathe. They were forceful blows.”
Mr Lolley reached for his phone and tried to call the police, but Watson grabbed it from his hand and smashed it against the wall before hitting it with a hammer.
He then resumed his attack by gouging into Mr Lolley’s eye with his fingers and biting his ear, causing it to bleed, before punching him several more times.
Mr Lolley fled into the garden, but Watson followed him and landed several more blows, knocking him to the ground.
Watson then took hold of his head and struck it against the base of a fence post before Mr Lolley finally managed to get away and escape to a neighbour’s home.
His eye was bloodshot, he had marks to his neck and bruising, and he suffered headaches for the next few days as a result of the attack, said Mr Pegg.
When he was arrested Watson accepted there had been ‘a confrontation’ after he had drunk 14 pints of lager and four shots of Sambuca between midday and the time of the incident.
Christopher Jones, defending, said: “This was an isolated incident. After his release on bail he did apologise to Mr Lolley, having accepted full responsibility in his interview for what he did to him.
“It was a particularly vicious assault on his former partner,” conceded Mr Jones.
But he said there were mitigating features, pointing out that the assault was not premeditated and Watson, who had a number of personal problems, had no previous convictions and has taken steps to deal with his anger issues.
Sentencing Watson, who now lives in Alfreton, Derbyshire, Judge Stephen Eyre QC told him: “I accept you are not normally a violent man, and that on the 10th of June you acted in a way you would not normally act.
“But the court has to look at the fact that you carried out an unprovoked attack on your partner in his own home.
“Even if that only happens out of character, even if it only happens once, that must be something the courts regard as a serious matter.
“This was a sustained assault. Fortunately there were only moderate injuries. It could have been far worse than it was, but the fact that you were acting in drink is itself an aggravating feature.
“But I’ve decided that because this was out of character, and because you have particular personal problems, I will give you a chance.”