A mum was left looking like a "Halloween monster" after a vicious attack by the man she thought she was in love with.
Zoe Johnstone was left with a multiple injuries after a shocking onslaught in her own bed by her drunken brute of a partner.
Lewis Harding rained blow after blow - she thought it could have been as many as 30 - on terrified Zoe, breaking her jaw and leaving her battered and bruised.
A court heard their two young children were left distraught by her badly injured appearance after the attack.
Harding, 30, of Scoular Drive, North Seaton, Ashington, Northumberland, was originally charged with inflicting GBH but prosecutors accepted his guilty plea to the less offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and he has now walked free from court on a suspended prison sentence.
The court heard the couple had been in a volatile on-off relationship and police had been called out before for domestic issues, although Harding has no previous convictions.
On July 4 last year they went out drinking in Ashington, separately with their respective friends, then headed to Morpeth for a meal around 6.30pm.
But Harding made it clear he didn't want to be there and wanted to drink more rather than eat.
He knocked lager over Zoe, which he said was accidental but she thought was deliberate, and refused to look at the menu, before eventually leaving the restaurant.
She followed him and they ended up back at the pub, after she went home to get changed out of her lager-soaked clothes.
Later that night, Zoe got home to find Harding asleep outside.
In the early hours, he went inside and she told him to go downstairs or into another bedroom, but he ignored her.
Michael Cahill, prosecuting, said: "He climbed into bed over the top of her and she shouted at him to get out.
"He used his open palm to hit her in the face, hitting her nose.
"He then sat up and used his fist to punch her in the face. This made her fall out of bed and land on the floor.
"He punched her multiple times to the head and upper body and she tried to protect her face with her arms."
Zoe brought the onslaught to an end by squeezing his genitals hard.
She then went to call 999 and he punched her in the throat, called her a "f****** psycho" and pushed her head into a wall.
When police went to arrest Harding at his mum's home, he was found trying to hide in a shower cubicle.
He initially said Zoe was the aggressor but was shocked when shown the pictures of her injuries and admitted he had gone too far.
He admitted hitting her numerous times but disputed her estimate of 30.
Zoe suffered a fractured jaw, which resulted in her having to eat soft food for six weeks and continues to not be aligned properly. She also had bruising and swelling to her face and arms, bleeding behind her eye, a broken tooth, grazes to her elbow and a bump on her head.
She said in a victim impact statement that while she went to hospital the next day in agony, Harding was laughing about it with their mutual friends and branding her a psycho.
She added: "This was supposed to be someone I loved, that was meant to love me.
"I had forgiven him in the past for attacking me and ended a previous court case.
"He didn't care what injury he caused me, he tucked himself into bed ready for socialising later that day."
Recalling the violence, Zoe said: "It was multiple aggressive punches.
"He didn't care my family or young children had to see me looking like that.
"I want him to know how distraught our four and six year old children were to see their mummy looking like a Halloween monster."
Zoe acknowledged that Harding had continued to be a good dad to the youngsters.
He was sentenced to two years suspended for two years with 200 hours unpaid work, an indefinite restraining order and must complete a building better relationships programme.
Recorder Tahir Khan QC said it was a "serious assault carried out in the family home where she was entitled to feel safe" and had left her traumatised.
But he added that Harding did not pose a danger to the public, his risk of re-offending is low, there's a realistic possibility of rehabilitation and locking him up would deprive his children of his financial support from working.
Tony Davis, defending, said Harding had expressed "real remorse".
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