A Newtown man who suffered significant injuries after being repeatedly punched in the face and having his windpipe crushed has told a court that he thought was going to be killed by his stepdaughter’s drunk ex-partner.

John Baker's injuries were so serious that his bloodied and swollen face made his stepdaughter physically sick following the unprovoked and brutal attack that has left his family frightened in their own home.

Christopher Brown, 35, of Bryn Lane, Newtown, avoided being sent straight to jail by a "hair's breadth" on Thursday (April 13) and was instead given an 18-month prison sentence that is suspended for 18 months.

Recorder Simon Mills told Brown that he was "truly fortunate" that he hadn't caused Mr Baker catastrophic injuries such as losing his sight.

“You’ve come so close to going to prison today you’ll never believe," he said.


Brian Treadwell, prosecuting, told the court how late on Friday night, January 7 this year, Brown, who was drunk, punched Mr Baker in the eye after he walked into the kitchen saying "surprise!".

"The defendant hit him again and his eyesight became blurry," Mr Treadwell said. "He then lost his balance and fell to the floor when the defendant chocked Mr Baker's windpipe with one hand and hit him to the head. The victim said he felt he was getting to the point of passing out when he felt the weight come off him."

Mr Treadwell explained that Brown's ex-partner came down the stairs and heard her stepdad saying, "get off" and he seemed in pain.

"The defendant was seen hitting Mr Baker to the face. [His ex-partner] grabbed the defendant by the coat saying, ‘get off’. She then pushed the defendant out of the house. She was then physically sick from the sight of Mr Baker's face."

In a statement read out in court by the prosecutor, Mr Baker said he is a "shadow of my former self", feeling embarrassed and in constant pain from his "horrendous" injuries since the attack.

"I honestly think had she not come down he would have killed me," Mr Baker continued. "I tried my best to secure the house, but I feel I have failed my family.

"Ever since I'm taken over by flashbacks from that night. I'm in a constant state of worry that he will return."

Brown, who had a caution for battery in 2010, pleaded guilty to burglary of a dwelling inflicting grievous bodily harm at an earlier court hearing. The court heard that he was the only defendant to show up at Mold Crown Court when last month snow disruption postponed his sentencing hearing.

Simon Rogers, mitigating for Brown, told the court: "It is something he regrets every single day. Notwithstanding that caution, his behaviour was entirely out of character.

"What is clear is that emotions were running high. He should have never gone round that night, particularly under the influence of alcohol. In reality it was only going to end one way."

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The court heard that a number of people had written references for Brown including his employer who described him as an "excellent employee, well liked and a good worker". Another said he is "polite, friendly and helpful".

Mr Rogers added: "This is not someone where he has been given chance after chance. There is a realistic prospect of rehabilitation for this defendant."

Mr Recorder Mills ordered Brown to complete a six-month alcohol rehabilitation programme, 30 rehabilitation requirement days, 120 hours of unpaid work and pay £2,500 to Mr Baker.

Brown was given a five-year restraining order not to approach or contact John Baker or his ex-partner, except through certain mediators or enter the street where the attack happened.

Mr Recorder Mills told him: “This was what some people would say idiotic, absolute madness. Some people would say it was an entirely wicked thing to do because no good was going to come of this whatever and many people would say you went round there looking for trouble.

“The attack was entirely unprovoked that involved repeated blows to the face crushing the windpipe while continuing to hit him causing significant and serious injuries including bruising, laceration fractured orbital socket and some displacement of the eyeball, and the affect has clearly been substantial."

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He continued: “I’ve thought about this case long and hard. I’ll tell you straightway when I came here on the previous occasion, I felt there was no possible way of you avoiding an immediate custodial sentence. But I was impressed that turned up to court that day and persisted that your case was heard. That tells me you’re likely to turn up to appointments and go about them in a responsible way.

“I’ve changed my mind because I was going to send you straight to prison but I have come to a conclusion by a hair’s breadth that I can suspend the sentence because of your plea, lack of convictions, you're in work and there is prospect of rehabilitation."

He added: “This is your last chance, Mr Brown. You won’t get another because you came so close to prison today but I just pulled back from the brink.

“Don’t post anything stupid on Facebook that you got away with it, because you haven’t, and you will be in breach of the order.”