Teenager was ‘out of depth’ in relationship with older woman

A TEENAGER “completely out of his depth” in a relationship with an older woman carried out a sustained assault on her at her home, a court heard.

Although they separated in January last year, when defendant Sam James Hill was aged 18, there was still some contact between them in the following months and they saw each other on the night of Saturday May 9.

Durham Crown Court was told they ended the night going back to her home in Sacriston at 11pm, but due to his behaviour she fled to a friend’s house nearby at 5.30 the following morning.

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said it was started by the defendant wanting to see the contents of her phone, although Hill claimed she, too, asked if he had been seeing other girls.

Mr Dryden said at some stage Hill clearly struck her, as confirmed by a ‘thud’ captured on audio footage of the incident.

He pulled a blanket over her head to the point where she had difficulty breathing, and although she fled to another bedroom, Hill dragged her out, repeatedly kicking her legs and at the base of her back.

Hill damaged furnishings in the flat, including putting his fist through the tv screen, and daubed the words, “slut” and “slag”, using her mascara, on a living room mirror.

Mr Dryden said Hill also threatened her with a knife, saying if he did so, no-one would want to look at her in future.

He choked her by the neck and held her in a headlock, and she only broke free after biting him.

They further grappled in the living room, before she managed to escape to her friend’s home.

Mr Dryden said the victim suffered extensive bruising around her body and bite marks to her chest and forearm.

When interviewed, Hill claimed she was the aggressor and her injuries were only caused by him acting in self-defence.

Hill, now 20, of Hill Top View, Langley Park, admitted assault causing actual bodily harm and criminal damage, on the day of trial, last month.

Mark Styles, for Hill, described the relationship as, “no good for either of them”, and told the court: “That is obvious, and it resolves around a lack of trust on both sides, with accusations of infidelity, one way and another.

“He was completely out of his depth and overwhelmed by the nature of it, and its intensity, as a very immature young man.

“He has got to learn to control his temper and is appalled he has let himself down like this.”

Judge Ray Singh told Hill: “You richly deserve to go to prison today”.

But he said due to the defendant’s still young age, his lack of previous convictions, and the fact there have been no further incidents since that night, he could suspend the 15-month sentence for two years, during which Hill must take part in 20 rehabilitation activity days and attend 30 ‘Building Better Relationship’ sessions, both run by the Probation Service.

The judge also ordered Hill to pay his victim £500 compensation within three months.

The Northern Echo | Durham