Mum left looking like ‘Halloween monster’ after brutal attack in bed by Ashington partner

A mother looked like a “Halloween monster” after a vicious attack by the man she believed she was in love with.

Zoe Johnstone was left behind from multiple injuries after a shocking attack in her own bed by her drunken partner.

Lewis Harding hit the frightened Zoe one after another – she thought it could have been up to 30 – breaking her jaw, leaving her bruised and bruised.

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A court heard that her two young children were disturbed by their badly injured looks after the attack.

Harding, 30, of Scoular Drive, North Seaton, Ashington, Northumberland, was originally charged with inflicting GBH but prosecutors accepted his guilty plea for the lesser offense of bodily harm and he has now been released on suspended sentence.

The court heard that the couple had been in a volatile on-off relationship and that the police had previously been called about domestic issues, even though Harding has no criminal record.

On July 4th of last year, they went separately with their respective friends in Ashington for drinks, and then drove to Morpeth to eat at around 6:30 pm.

But Harding made it clear that he did not want to be there and would rather drink more than eat.

He tipped Zoe a lager, which he thought was accidentally, but she thought it was deliberate and refused to look at the menu before finally leaving the restaurant.

She followed him and they ended up back in the pub after going home to change out of her camp-soaked clothes.

Later that night, Zoe came home to find Harding outside asleep.

He went in early in the morning and she told him to go downstairs or to another bedroom, but he ignored her.

Michael Cahill, Prosecutor, said, “He climbed onto bed over her and she yelled at him to get out.

“He used his open palm to slap her face and hit her nose.

“He then sat up and punched her face with his fist, making her fall out of bed and land on the floor.

“He hit her head and torso several times and she tried to protect her face with her arms.”

Zoe ended the onslaught by squeezing his genitals tightly.

She then called 999 and he slapped her in the throat calling her a “f ****** psycho” and pressing her head against a wall.

When police arrested Harding at his mother’s house, he was found trying to hide in a shower stall.

He initially said Zoe was the aggressor but was shocked when he showed the pictures of her injuries and admitted that he had gone too far.

He admitted beating her multiple times but denied her estimate of 30.

Zoe suffered a broken jaw which resulted in her eating soft foods for six weeks and still not being properly aligned. She also had bruises and swelling on her face and arms, bleeding behind the eye, a broken tooth, abrasions on her elbow and a bump on her head.

In a statement on the victim’s effects, she said that while Harding went to the hospital in agony the next day, she laughed at it with her mutual friends and branded her a psychologist.

She added, “This should be someone I loved, who should love me.

“I had forgiven him in the past for assaulting me and ended an earlier trial.

“He didn’t care what injury he caused me, he went to bed to socialize later that day.”

Recalling the violence, Zoe said, “It was several aggressive strikes.

“He didn’t care that my family or young children had to see me like this.

“I want him to know how upset our four- and six-year-old children were when they saw their mom look like a Halloween monster.”

Zoe admitted that Harding continued to be a good father to the youngsters.

He was sentenced to two years probation with 200 hours of unpaid work and an indefinite restraining order, and is required to complete a program to build better relationships.

Recorder Tahir Khan QC said it was “a severe attack on the family home where she was allowed to feel safe” and traumatized her.

But he added that Harding posed no threat to the public, his risk of relapse was low, there was a realistic possibility of rehabilitation, and incarceration would take his children away from financial support for work.

Tony Davis, who defended himself, said Harding had expressed “real remorse”.

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