Middlesbrough Man Jailed For Attack On Girlfriend

1 November 2017, 18:00

Samuel Farley

A design engineer who left his girlfriend with severe brain injuries after a drug-fuelled attack in Middlesbrough has been jailed.

Samuel Farley, 21, inflicted at least 27 blows on Esther Garrity as they walked home from a night out.

Miss Garrity, a teenage fashion student at Manchester Metropolitan University, lost teeth and suffered a badly broken jaw and severe brain swelling.

Farley was jailed for 12 years and six months at Teesside Crown Court for the horrific attack and two counts of supplying cocaine.

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC said: "This case effectively illustrates the dangers of drug taking.

"This is, on any view, a tragic case, for it involves the fact that two young hitherto vibrant and talented young people have been blighted.

"Blighted, of course, Samuel Farley, by your actions on that night, effectively blighted by the drugs you chose to take."

He added: "You would not have become involved in this horrendous attack were it not for the drugs you chose to take."

Miss Garrity's injuries were so bad her head swelled to three times its normal size and her father could not recognise her when he saw her in hospital.

A paramedic who attended the scene said her injuries were the worst he had seen anyone survive.

She spent 108 days in hospital and continues to suffer the consequences of the attack in April.

Her boyfriend admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent on Tuesday as he was due to go on trial for attempted murder.

Farley, of Melbourne Close, Marton, Middlesbrough, had taken cocaine, ketamine and LSD before the attack.

Sam Green QC, defending, said the drugs caused the defendant, normally a loving and caring boyfriend, to behave psychotically.

Mr Green said friends were astonished to hear what he had done and his behaviour was "utterly out of character".

Miss Garrity and her boyfriend had a large circle of friends and were thought to be a loving couple, John Elvidge QC, prosecuting, said.

Farley later told police they had a "wonderful relationship, we never had any arguments and we were like best mates".

But on April 28 he went against his girlfriend's wishes and took LSD during a night out with friends.

He also took cocaine and had ketamine in his system when he was arrested.

The court heard how he had a previous bad experience on LSD which led a friend to urge him not to take it again.

Miss Garrity was only mildly intoxicated when a row apparently inspired by his jealousy developed as they walked home along Marton Road.

He picked up a 7ft piece of wood from a for sale sign but did not hit her with it when she told him not to be "stupid".

Instead, Farley, who went to the gym five times a week, set about her with his hands and feet, with the blows becoming more frenzied.

Miss Garrity's pleas were heard by local residents who came to her help.

Her last words before she fell unconscious were: "Stop it, you're going to kill me."

He left her bleeding from the mouth, nose and ears and assaulted two men who tried to grab him.

He shouted "I am God" as he struggled with police arresting him and on the way to hospital he was "raving in an incomprehensible fashion", Mr Elvidge said.

He was sedated and the next morning, after asking "How's my girlfriend", he claimed he had been spiked with LSD, only later admitting he had taken it voluntarily.

In a victim statement, Miss Garrity's father Francis recalled the shock of seeing her so badly injured in hospital.

He said: "They tried to clean her up but I couldn't recognise the person lying there.

"Her head was three times the normal size, her injuries were horrific."

Her mother Victoria Hoban said she collapsed when she saw Miss Garrity in intensive care for the first time.

Farley instructed his barrister to issue a series of apologies to his victim, her family, his parents and to the court, Mr Green said.

"The most important thing I have to say is Samuel Farley is very sorry for the terrible thing he did to Esther Garrity," he said.

Body-cam footage taken in hospital showed Farley was "profoundly psychotically disturbed", Mr Green said.

"This is utterly, utterly out of character," he added.

Farley now intends to warn others about the perils of using drugs, his barrister said.

"He wishes to say to young people, drawing on his own situation with humility, shame but maturity, 'don't do drugs, this is what they can do. They do terrible things, shun them'."

Outside court, the victim's mother Victoria Hoban said: "Use of drugs in no way absolves one of personal responsibility."

She thanked the members of the public who came to help her daughter that night, saying that they had probably saved her life.

Ms Hoban added: "This has been the lowest point in my life but thanks to the support of friends and family we are now able to move on and continue building Esther back up to the incredibly strong woman she is."

During sentencing the judge said Farley took LSD despite a previous "bad trip", breaking a promise to his grilfriend.

The judge said no-one will ever know why he launched the attack which nearly killed her.

He added: "The consequences are significant and long-lasting, if not permanent.

"She remains vulnerable, she suffers a loss of confidence, she cannot be left on her own.

"Her facial expressions are limited, she spent 108 days in hospital, nearly a month in intensive care.

"Her future therefore has been blighted to the extent that the happy, attractive, bubbly girl she was before the attack has a very poor future."