Thug split girlfriend's eye open in brutal attack as young kids watched in horror

-Credit: (Image: Greg Martin / Cornwall Live)

A Leicestershire man beat his girlfriend in a brutal assault in front of her young children while on a family holiday. Luke Finlayson, 37, fractured the woman's eye socket, ripped out clumps of her hair and dragged her across the floor during the attack.

She fled the house, in Portreath, Cornwall, called the police and was hospitalised as a result. Finlayson, of Swift Way in Lutterworth, appeared at Truro Crown Court for sentence on Thursday (July 4) having pleaded guilty to a single offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The court heard how he launched the assault on his victim in front of her two young children as they told them how scared they were, reports CornwallLive. Finlayson was spared jail after his girlfriend pleaded with the court for him to be released so they could be reunited.

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The court heard that Finlayson had spent the afternoon in the pub before returning to the holiday let, muttering and throwing a bottle at his victim and her two sons. After assaulting his partner, he later kicked and hit their dog before taking a knife and cutting his arm.

Prosecuting the case, Ramsay Quaife described the woman's injuries as "horrific". He said she had swelling across her forehead and right eye socket, scratches on her neck, swelling and bruising on her right arm and a CT scan of her head showed a collection of blood on the right eye socket and a fracture to the bone. There were also wounds to the membrane of her eye.

"[The victim] went upstairs and said to the children to pack up and that was when this defendant grabbed her from behind and pulled her back," Mr Quaife said. "[She] managed to get into the bedroom, the defendant followed her and then punched her to the head and then headbutted her. [She] made her escape to put the children in the car and tried to stop the defendant from leaving and by now [she] realised her eye was split and the children were shouting about being scared."

The court heard that the woman then returned to the house, at which point Finlayson again attacked her, yanked her hair and dragged her to the floor. He ripped chunks of her hair out and kicked her all over her body as she lay on the floor. He then picked up her head and smashed it against a chest of drawers and grabbed her neck at which point the victim said she "blacked out", the court heard.

Defence barrister Ed Bailey said that when shown the injuries suffered by his partner of four years, Finlayson was "absolutely horrified" and had said he "blacked out" and turned violent. Mr Bailey said his client fully accepted responsibility for both the physical harm to his victim and emotional harm caused to her children. "He is utterly appalled at his own behaviour and has expressed a genuine sense of shame for what happened," Mr Bailey said.

He added that there was "absolutely no getting around this" and that Finlayson was prepared for custody. "He recognises he must never drink alcohol again and as such has taken positive steps while in custody," Mr Bailey added, saying he felt there was a realistic prospect of rehabilitation for the defendant.

A reference provided for Finlayson described the assault as "uncharacteristic" and "out of the blue" despite having a previous offence and restraining order against an ex-partner. The court also heard he pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

The victim too described in an impact statement that Finlayson had a "decent, loving side to him" and said he had been a good father figure to her children and she wanted them all to put the incident behind them and move on.

His Honour Judge Simon Carr said he had seen similar cases where victims ended up hospitalised again, or even dead, but he gave Finlayson a suspended sentence. In his sentencing remarks, the judge told Finlayson: "You had been drinking heavily whilst on holiday and have little memory, I accept, of the events of that evening. You subjected your partner to an absolutely brutal assault and that in itself would be terrifying enough but you did it in the presence of two nine-year-old children.

"The attack went on for 15 minutes, during which time you kicked, punched, headbutted and pulled the hair of your partner with such force that clumps of her hair came out. You fractured her eye socket. The photographs are truly horrific."

The judge said that despite this, the victim had made an articulate argument to return him to her family unit. "However misguided I may feel that may be... she is right in saying she is a very competent human being able to make her own decisions, even poor decisions if she so wishes," said Judge Carr.

Finlayson was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, suspended for two years. He was also ordered that he must reside and sleep elsewhere to his victim, although will be allowed to visit as he sees fit. "My view is you should never again live under that roof," he said.