A FORMER soldier has been jailed for five and a half years over a “gratuitous” attack on a couple.
Andrew Dowsett broke Michael Ross’s jaw in two places, fractured his nose and left him needing surgery to have metal plates fitted in his face as a result of it being stamped on.
The 22-year-old ex-gunner also twice kicked Mr Ross’ girlfriend, Katie Olaman, in the face during the onslaught.
Mr Recorder David Wilby QC said: “It was totally unnecessary, gratuitous violence. There was absolutely no need for this.”
Emma Dowling, prosecuting, told the court the victims had been walking home from Mr Ross’s sister’s house in Washington in the early hour of January 1 last year when they were attacked on an isolated stretch of old railway line.
The court heard it was Victoria Kingsbury, who was with Dowsett, who threw the first punch at Miss Olaman and they ended up on the ground.
Miss Dowling said: “She was on the floor, with Miss Kingsbury on top of her, and she looked to her side and saw Dowsett assaulting her boyfriend Mr Ross.
“She described Dowsett stamping at least twice on Mr Ross’s head.”
The court heard the two attackers appeared to walk away, but Dowsett then came back and continued the violence. Miss Dowling said: “Dowsett came back and kicked her in the face and called her an offensive name. She had her hands over her face and she heard him move away from her. She moved her hands to see he had again stamped on Mr Ross’s head.
“He then kicked her again, to the right side of the head.”
Dowsett, of Richard Street, Hetton-le-Hole, was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and assault after a trial.
Kingsbury, 33, of Tynedale Street, Hetton-le-Hole, admitted assault. She was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment, suspended for two years.
Nicholas Lane, defending Dowsett, handed in a stack of references to his otherwise positive character, and said the former soldier’s ambition to join the Royal Marines has been shattered by his own behaviour.
Jane Foley, defending Kingsbury, said the violence was not premeditated.