Terrified hammer smash victim fought off attacker with knife

A terrified Derby woman fought off her ex-partner with a kitchen knife as he attacked her with a hammer.

Furious Steven Smallwood struck his former girlfriend to the head with the weapon outside her Allenton flat.

As she fell to the ground on top of a friend, the brave woman lashed out with the blade causing a large scar across her attacker’s face.

The victim then felt blood trickling down her own face from the wound she had received in the hammer blow.

Neighbours in Wilkins Drive heard the commotion and left their homes where a group of them assaulted the 46-year-old defendant as he tried to flee the scene.

But after pleading guilty to two charges, Smallwood refused to appear in the dock and was sentenced in his absence as he sat in a cell at Derby Crown Court.

Jailing him for two years and three months, Judge Jonathan Bennett said: “This morning we have an empty dock as the defendant has refused to come up.

“But on July 27 he was well able to throw his weight around, turning up with a hammer. But today, when he has to face the music, he was too cowardly to appear in the dock.

“That does not say much about the remorse he tells me he has in his letter he has written to me.”

Abi Joyce, prosecuting, said the victim was speaking to a neighbour on the landing outside her flat in Brindley Court on the day of the assault.

She said having been told Smallwood was on his way from his Boscastle Road home and knowing he “has a temper” she picked up the knife and placed it in her dressing gown pocket.

Miss Joyce said: “He came towards the flat and was concealing a hammer and when he approached her she asked what he wanted.

“He replied ‘I ******* told you about telling stories’ and despite her neighbour trying to stop him, he held the hammer above his head.

“She knew he was there to assault her so she pulled put the knife to warn him off, but he struck her first to the hand and then to the head with the hammer.”

Miss Joyce said the woman was on the ground had waved the knife around blindly which connected with the defendant’s face.

She said the victim then felt blood tricking down her face from where she had been struck.

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Miss Joyce said Smallwood ran off, but was attacked by a group of men who had heard the noise and come out of their flats to see what was happening.

She said he was arrested and claimed it was he that had been assaulted.

But he later pleaded guilty to assault occasioning grievous bodily harm through wounding and possession of an offensive weapon.

He has 47 previous offences to his name, but nothing since 2008.

In a victim impact statement the woman, who attended the hearing remotely over a video link, said she turned to drinking heavily to cope with what happened.

She now no longer lives at the flat as she “cannot face” being there.

Christopher Eckersley, for Smallwood, said his client has been the full time carer for his mother for the past 12 years.

He said: “He accepts he armed himself with a hammer, but he suffered a gaping wound to his face in the incident and he is permanently disfigured.

“The victim, in her own words in her police interview said ‘I should have phoned the police’, but instead she went outside with a knife.”

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