Mon, 10 Aug 2020
A MAN who knocked a woman unconscious with a savage punch to the face has been jailed.
The force of the blow lifted the woman off her feet, sent her body sprawling and her head crashing onto the concrete.
CCTV footage showed her lying motionless in the street afterwards and prompted a judge to remark on the “ferocity” of the incident.
Thirty-two-year-old Paul Tidbury from Newbury, who has 108 previous convictions, also smashed every window in the woman’s car, causing it to be written off.
He is already serving prison time, having been jailed last month for similar offences.
Rob Harding, prosecuting at Reading Crown Court on Thursday, said Tidbury had been out drinking in Reading with two female friends, one of whom was the victim, Rebecca Smith.
At some point, the court heard, Tidbury became separated from the women and he returned to the hotel they had booked.
Mr Harding said: “He telephoned Ms Smith and said: ‘If you don’t come back to the hotel in five minutes I’ll smash every f****** window in your car’.”
She returned to find he had done just that.
Mr Harding added: “She pushed him in the chest; he punched her with considerable force, taking her off her feet.
“It was a forceful blow that rendered her unconscious... she sustained injuries to her chin where her face hit the kerb.”
In a victim impact statement, Ms Smith said she was unable to eat solid food for weeks; that her face is now permanently scarred and she tries to hide it with a scarf; that she is frightened to go out and is even jumpy and nervous around friends and family.
In addition, she said, her car was written off, leaving her trapped in her home.
Ms Smith said she is still undergoing medical treatment.
Tidbury – who has also used the name John Paul Harfield – admitted assaulting Rebecca Smith, thereby causing her actual bodily harm, in Reading on November 28 last year.
He further admitted causing £600 worth of criminal damage to a Seat Alhambra belonging to Ms Smith on the same occasion.
The court heard Tidbury has convictions for 108 previous offences, including assaulting police, carrying an offensive weapon, harassment, breach of a restraining order, dishonesty, criminal damage and public order offences.
Steve Molloy, defending, pointed out that, despite his lengthy list of previous convictions, only six of those had been for violence.
He quoted a 2017 probation report which described his client as amiable and articulate and added that Tidbury was “personable and not unintelligent”.
Mr Molloy went on: “When he drinks he has a tendency to drink to excess.”
Judge Edward Burgess QC told Tidbury: “You’re no stranger to being sentenced by the criminal courts; you’ve appeared before them with depressing regularity since you were 14.”
After reeling off some of Tidbury’s previous convictions, Judge Burgess spoke of the “ferocity” with which he had punched his victim and added: “I’ve just seen for myself the force of the blow; it was a swinging punch direct to the face.
“She is permanently scarred in a visible place.”
He jailed Tidbury for a total of 38 weeks, half of which will be spent behind bars and half on licence in the community.