Suspended jail term for bully who attacked partner and her friend

'TERRIBLE BEHAVIOUR' ... Mark Laidler has given a suspended jail term after attacking his partner and threatening her friend Amanda Lightfoot, below.
'TERRIBLE BEHAVIOUR' ... Mark Laidler has given a suspended jail term after attacking his partner and threatening her friend Amanda Lightfoot, below.

A VIOLENT ‘bully’ who attacked his partner after a late-night row and threatened her friend the next morning has avoided jail.

Mark Laidler slapped Hayley Thomson – leaving her “ears ringing” – when she returned to the home they shared in Jarrow at about midnight on Tuesday, April 8 after a night out in Newcastle.

She fled to another room of the house and sent a text to her friend, Olympic skier Amanda Lightfoot, asking her to come to the house later the next day when Laidler was out and help her move her belongings.

But when Miss Thomson’s phone battery died during the text conversation, her friend grew concerned and arrived at 8am.

Laidler was still in the house and trouble flared. He kicked a table in his partner’s direction, hitting her on the right arm, and threatened to drag her friend out of the house “by her hair”.

Miss Lightfoot, who represented Great Britain in the Winter Olympics in Russia earlier this year, then called the police.

Verbal threat

Laidler, 35, of Haughton Crescent, Jarrow, initially denied two counts of assault by beating against Miss Thomson and assault – by verbal threat – against Miss Lightfoot but changed his pleas on the day of the trial last month.

The case was adjourned until yesterday for sentencing, with both women seeking restraining orders.

Jeanette Smith, prosecuting, said: “Miss Thomson had been out with friends in Newcastle and arrived home at about midnight, scared and frightened because of an earlier row.

“She found the door was locked and rang Laidler’s phone to be let in. He was swearing. She said she didn’t dare say anything.

“She got into bed next to him and was struck in the head and the ear. She said her ears were ringing.

“When her friend arrived the next morning, the defendant was very abusive and told Miss Thomson to get her stuff and get out.

“He kicked a table towards Miss Thomson, hitting her in the arm and was verbally abusive to her friend.”

The court heard that Laidler and Thomson, who have now separated, had been together for about two and a half years.

In a victim statement read in court, Miss Thomson said: “The relationship was often violent.

“He was physically and emotionally abusive. I felt frightened and scared.”

In a statement to the court, Miss Lightfoot added: “He threatened to drag me out of the house by my hair. I was terrified he was going to hit me.”

Paul Kennedy, defending, said: “This incident was the culmination of this relationship starting to break down over a period of months. He had lost employment and was not able to bring money into the property.

“He said in the weeks leading up to this incident he had asked her to leave the property as the relationship was effectively over.

“The next morning, he asked her to leave and her friend asked why didn’t he leave. The property is his and he became angry about someone asking him to leave his own home.

“He can only apologise. He is ashamed about his behaviour.”

District Judge Helen Cousins gave Laidler an eight-week jail term – six weeks for the two assaults on Miss Thompson and two weeks for the verbal assault on Miss Lightfoot – but suspended the sentence for 12 months.

An indefinite restraining order was made against Laidler, barring contact with Miss Thomson.

No order was made in regards to Miss Lightfoot.

Laidler was also ordered to pay compensation of £200 to each victim, court costs of £320 and an £80 victim surcharge.