Samuel Billyard sentenced for hitting woman with baton

A Devon man who broke a woman's jaw with a wooden baton has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Samuel Billyard, 23, of Vicarage Hill, Kingsteignton, admitted causing grievous bodily harm and having an offensive weapon.

Exeter Crown Court heard he hit Hannah Burgess after taking drugs and becoming frightened by a movie.

He was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for two years and ordered to receive treatment from a support group.

The court heard that Billyard had taken drugs and was behaving strangely at the Coombe Farm event in July 2011 where Miss Burgess was selling crafts.

Prosecuting, Bathsheba Cassel said guests at the event said Billyard was wearing his clothes back-to-front and rolling in the grass.

The court heard that he knew his victim and attacked her when she walked through woodland to take him to a film screening.

"She turned around to ask him what he was doing and saw him take a massive swing at her with the stick which connected with her face," Miss Cassel said.

"She fell to the floor screaming and said there was blood and flesh flying from her face and she was aware of her teeth being pushed back into her mouth."

Billyard admitted he had taken drugs and had become frightened by the loud music and violent images he had watched on an earlier film.

Recorder Kevin de Haan, QC, told Billyard: "Ordinarily you would go to prison immediately for a fairly substantial time but I am not doing that because I take the view your behaviour that night was totally irrational and you were not fully aware of what you were doing.

"You were suffering from paranoid psychosis which to an extent was self-inflicted by substance abuse."

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