A judge ignored sentencing guidelines to lock up a convicted killer who viciously kicked a mum – in front of her eight-year-old daughter.
Thomas Watson assaulted a female friend of his ex, after she stepped in as peacemaker when he approached his former partner in Guisborough.
The victim was due to be a witness in an upcoming trial involving Watson, and after the 23-year-old finished kicking her as she lay on the floor he shouted: “I won’t be seeing you in court now, will I?”
Her daughter, eight, stood next to her mum during the attack and said: “Mammy, that man has kicked you.”
Watson is no stranger to the courts – he was locked up for three years for the ‘one-punch’ manslaughter of 17-year-old Daniel Crowther in 2011.
And he was given a 20 month sentence in 2015 for wounding someone with a knife, leaving a three inch cut to a woman’s face.
Now Teesside’s top judge, Simon Bourne Arton QC, said because of Watson’s appalling record he felt “entitled and empowered” to go outside normal sentencing guidelines to deal with him – locking him up for three years.
Judge Bourne Arton, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, said: “Any man who assaults a woman will be dealt with seriously by this court.
“Any man cowardly enough to constantly kick a woman on the floor will be dealt with very seriously. And any man who will try and intimidate a witness will be dealt with very seriously.
“This was a very bad attack on a woman in front of her eight-year-old daughter. She witnessed her mother being attacked in this cowardly fashion.”
The latest attack happened on April 8 in Guisborough, when Watson saw his ex – with whom he was in dispute over access to see his child – outside a house in central Guisborough.
Watson was already due at Magistrates’ Court for trial in May, after breaching an order stopping him contacting his former partner.
He began to approach the house, but her pal – who had formerly been friends with Watson – tried to calm him down.
Prosecutor Penny Bottomley said: “He grabbed her and pulled her down, and she felt a sharp blow to her face. She wasn’t sure if she’d been kicked or punched.
“Her eight-year-old daughter says “mammy that man has kicked you”.
“Watson then swung his arm back then kicked her three times as she was on the floor.”
A victim impact statement, read to the court, said: “I am in fear of this violent man. I still have the pressure that he or one of his friends will take revenge on me. He’s shown he’s no problem with assaulting women.”
Mitigating, Damian Sabino told the court Watson had “shown great remorse” by changing his plea ahead of a trial and admitting actual bodily harm and intimidation, “sparing” his victim the ordeal of coming to court.
“At this stage he would say there was no good relationship with the victim and he reacted badly to her involvement in an issue involving his ex,” said Mr Sabino.
“He apologised, and said his comments after were not meant to intimidate, they were throw-away remarks. It was a set of circumstances that came out of the blue.”
Teesside Crown Court heard that Watson, of Woodhouse Road, Guisborough, had been locked up in 2011 for the manslaughter of Daniel Crowther.
The popular 17-year-old Stokesley School pupil died from a single punch during an unprovoked attack after a night out in May 2011.
The tragic incident in Stokesley sent shockwaves through the quiet market town and after Watson was told he could be released on licence 18 months into his sentence, Daniel’s family spoke of their dismay at the sentence.
“It is incomprehensible that the person responsible for Daniel’s manslaughter will be free in a relatively short period of time, while we have to spend the rest of our lives trying to come to terms with Daniel’s death,” the family said in a statement at the time.