Boyfriend jailed for 12 years after drug-fuelled attack on girlfriend that left her with life-changing brain injuries

Samuel Farley has been sentencetoday after a harrowing attack on his girlfriend that left her with life-changing injuries.

A 21-year-old has been jailed for 12 and a half years after launching a drug-fuelled attack on his girlfriend after a night out - writes

Samuel Farley's actions left Esther Garrity in a coma after she suffered a bleed on the brain following the assault on Marton Road, Middlesbrough, in April.

Farley had taken acid or LSD, as well as cocaine and ketamine on the night of the attack, and was a regular drug user.

The attack left Miss Garrity with life-changing brain injuries as a result of the assault, which Farley claimed was a "psychotic episode" which he did not remember.

Farley has been handed a prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm.

CCTV footage was shown to the court showing Esther telling Farley he was 'going to kill her' as he repeatedly punched her to the ground.

She has life-changing brain injuries as a result of the attack, and it's believed she will never return to her 'old self' reports Gazette Live .

Farley, of Melbourne Close , Marton, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to causing grievous bodily harm. He was due to go on trial accused of attempting to kill Miss Garrity. A not guilty verdict will be entered on the charge of attempted murder.

Prosecutor John Elvidge QC told Teesside Crown Court that a jury would have had to consider issues of intoxication and whether Farley had "the capacity to form the specific intent" to kill.

Fashion student Miss Garrity, 19, from Linthorpe , was in hospital for months and "continues to have difficulties".

The court heard that Farley attacked Ms Garrity on Marton Road, punching and kicking her “like an animal” according to one witness.

Farley punched, kicked and stamped on Miss Garrity targeting repeated blows to her face, head and upper body.

She suffered a fractured nose, cheek and jaw and traumatic brain injury and brain swelling.

Home Office pathologist Dr Mark Egan said it was a potentially fatal assault with at least 17 separate blows, knocking her teeth out.

There were no defensive injuries and it was a “completely one-sided encounter” in which she was incapable of resisting.

The Crown said the attack was directed at Ms Garrity because she had upset him, speaking to an ex-girlfriend earlier in a night out in Middlesbrough.

During the evening Farley had taken LSD or acid as well as cocaine and ketamine.

The prosecution said Farley had discussed taking [acid] that night, but said he would not take it because Ms Garrity was unhappy about it. He disregarded that.

The court heard that Farley had taken acid before and a friend advised him never to take it again after seeing a change in his behaviour.

CCTV footage of the assault was shown to the court.

Farley walked behind Ms Garrity as she walked home swearing and shouting abuse at her just before 3am.

The Crown says he was feeling jealous. He picked up a 7ft length of timber but dropped it and did not use it in the attack.

Ms Garrity said to him “don’t be so stupid, what are you doing?” before he started the assault.

Farley was seen to punch her eight to nine times and she was trapped against a car boot as she and a witness told him to stop.

She was seen on the ground and heard to say: “You’re going to kill me.”

Farley replied “so what” and carried on hitting her.

Esther Garrity was in hospital for 108 days.

In the aftermath, Farley gave “evasive, dishonest and inconsistent” accounts which should be treated with caution, said the prosecution.

He variously claimed his drink had been spiked, he had no memory of his attack and had no intention to harm Ms Garrity.

When roused from sedation, he said:

"What happened? I can’t remember anything. How’s my girlfriend? I think I was spiked with acid." That, says the prosecution, was a deliberate lie.

He later said: "I’m not a murderer. I’m a normal lad with a good job. I love my girlfriend.

"I don’t even care if I go to jail. I just want to know she’s alright.

"We’re happy as Larry together. We’ve just been to Budapest. I don’t know how drugs can do that to people."

Farley said he had half a tab of acid and remembered feeling out of control.

He said it was out of character and, said the prosecution, showed a willingness to lie to protect himself in police interviews.

He said he did not feel responsible for what happened, saying he started feeling strange and jittery and did not know what was going on.

He lied and played down his previous consumption of drugs, said Mr Elvidge.

He said he and Miss Garrity had a “beautiful” relationship and he was not a jealous person.

But he later admitted that he took cocaine around twice a month. Evidence that he was a regular drug user was found in his bedroom.

Farley later told a mental health nurse that on the night in question he took half a tab of acid and "felt like he was possessed", hearing voices saying "leave her, finish with her."

In messages to Miss Garrity prior to the attack, Farley had at one point stated: "Bad Sam takes over sometimes." Other messages showed "a degree of insecurity" on Farley's part.

Mr Elvidge said: "There is no evidence of any previous violent behaviour towards Esther Garrity.

"But his personality was more complex than perhaps members of his social group were aware."

Esther has no recollection of the night of the attack. She was discharged from hospital on August 14 but cannot be left alone.

It is believed she is unlikely to return to what was her normal state, the court heard.

She is reliant on family support and supervision in the early days of rehabilitation but it is hoped she can resume her university studies.

Francis Garrity, Esther’s father, said in a statement read in court his life changed from the moment the knock came on his door on April 29.

Upon arriving at the hospital and seeing his daughter, Mr Garrity said: "I could not recognise the person lying there.

"Her head was three times the size it normally is. Her injuries were horrific.

"I’ve never seen anything like this in life.

"I will never forget the sight of my daughter in the condition she was."

He added that to find out his daughter's attacker was her boyfriend was "unbelievable" and said it was a "miracle" that she is still alive.

Sam Green QC, defending, said: “Sam Farley is very sorry indeed for the terrible thing he did to Esther Garrity and he is very sorry indeed for the severe injuries inflicted on her.”

He said Farley offered an “unreserved and contrite apology”.

He said Farley was sorry also to her family for their suffering and the practical consequences, and to his own parents for letting them down as they supported him despite their “abhorrence” at his actions.

Farley also apologised to his group of friends who were shocked and disturbed by his “severe lapse of character”, and to the court.

Mr Green said Farley did not come clean earlier about his drug use because he was “overwhelmed by utter shame and sheer terror”.

He said Farley’s last memory of the night was being with his girlfriend “followed by blackout”.

He disputed the prosecution “theory” of an underlying sexual jealousy behind the attack over Miss Garrity hugging and being pushed around in a trolley by an ex that night. He says Farley did not even know of the previous relationship until the court case.

He added that Farley did not react jealously and there was footage of the couple in “tactile and loving interaction” that evening.

This, he said, was before “the psychotic episode which has led to this nightmarish chain of events”.

Mr Green added: "It was irrational. It was delusional, profoundly psychotic and the reaction to a cocktail of drugs, one of which is a notorious hallucinogen."

He said Farley recognised how appalling and disgusting his behaviour was and was repulsed and devastated.

He said Farley showed “moral fortitude” to face up to his wrongdoing and plead guilty, despite three experts saying he probably lacked the ability to form the intent.

Farley now wanted to educate others not to follow the “stupid path” of drugs, showing intelligence, insight and maturity, said Mr Green.

He said Farley wanted to say to young people: "Don’t do drugs. This is what they can do. They are terrible things. Shun them."

Farley was originally jailed for 12 years for the assault, plus 18 months for two counts of supplying cocaine to Ms Garrity and another friend that night.

But the case was called into court after an error was made in relation to the drugs sentence only, which has now been reduced from 18 months to six months for Farley playing a lesser role sharing cocaine with friends.

The 12-year sentence for the assault remains unaltered. Farley's total sentence is now 12 and a half years.

The judge said: "This is on any view a tragic case.

"The lives of two hitherto vibrant and talented young people have been blighted.

"Blighted by the your actions that night,and effectively blighted by the drugs that you chose to take on that night.

"This case graphically illustrates the dangers of drug-taking.

"I’m certain that you are otherwise a normal young man, a loving son and grandson, hard-working, having a wide circle of friends.

"You have been in other relationships with other women in the course of which there has been not a suggestion of violence by you.

"Your actions on that night were caused solely by the drugs you chose to take.

"You would not have otherwise become involved in this horrendous attack had it not been for the drugs you chose to take.

"I’m supported by two eminent psychiatrists. However you did carry out that attack, and you did cause her those dreadful injuries.

"You had voluntarily taken a cocktail of drugs and alcohol. You had taken LSD before and had a bad trip. You promised never to take the drug again.

"Therefore you knew of the danger of taking LSD. You chose to ignore it. You lied to Esther Garrity about taking LSD that night.

"You took LSD in combination with other drugs without thinking of the consequences. Of course you are an experienced drug user.

"No one will ever know why you reacted as you did on that night and attacked her as you did. It was simply a psychotic episode.

"By your plea, you had the necessary criminal intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

"The injuries sustained by Ms Garrity were nearly fatal. Dr Egan outlined 25 injuries. You concentrated your attack on her head and her face which resulted in fractures to the nose, cheek and jaw.

"The consequences of those injuries are significant. The photographs immediately after the attack are as bad as can be imagined, graphically illustrating the extent of her injuries. When her parents went to see her, not unreasonably, they failed to recognise her.

"The consequences are significant and long-lasting, if not permanent. She remains vulnerable. She has suffered some loss of confidence.

"She cannot be left on her own. Her facial expressions are limited."

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