A 26-year-old man who sprayed ammonia in the eyes of his ex-partner and then drove her around for hours prolonging her agony has been given a 14-year sentence.
Matthew Johnson, a roofer from Worthing, West Sussex, was sentenced at Brighton Crown Court on Tuesday for using a noxious substance to cause grievous bodily harm and sexual assault.
He was also convicted of actual bodily harm and criminal damage for a previous incident in which he attacked the same woman in March 2016.
He was given an extended sentence of 14 years of which the first 10 years will be in custody with the other four years to be spent on prison supervision licence.
Detective Constable Duncan Chalmers, of Sussex Police, said: “This was a vicious assault by Johnson on
his then 30-year-old ex-partner on August 3 2016.
“He met her in Worthing, told her that he had a knife and ammonia and forced her to drive them both to a remote car park at Steyning Bowl, near Steyning, where he squirted ammonia in her eyes from a plastic sun tan bottle which we later found at the scene, before beating her black and blue and then sexually assaulting her.
“After this ordeal he prolonged her agony by driving her around for several hours before he dropped her off at Worthing Hospital later the same day.
“The victim’s eyes have still not fully recovered from the attack even now. She has to wear glasses and
cannot drive at night.”
Sentencing Johnson, Judge Shani Barnes said that her own experience of seeing the photos of the injuries would stay with her for some time, and that in the relationship Johnson was “the knight in shining armour who became dark and dangerous”.
A Sussex Police spokesman said: “Johnson fled Lewes Crown Court on May 9 last year when he
was initially due to stand trial for the offences.
“He was arrested at an address in Broadwater Road, Worthing, on September 5, in a police search shortly after he had been spotted in the same street by someone who recognised him.
“During the arrest Johnson broke his ankle when he fell from a flat roof when attempting to evade officers.”