TWO women were blasted by a judge for this shocking violence meted out on an innocent man attacked with a claw hammer in Newport city centre.

Couple Chantelle Bennett, 30, and Rebecca Tantrum, 28, from Newport, were condemned for their “disgraceful” assault on Paul Sutton last summer.

But the judge also severely criticised Gwent Police after he said he was forced to spare the women going straight to prison because of their handling of the case.

He attacked the force for taking nearly a year to bring the case to court and for their decision to release the defendants under investigation despite the ugly violence being captured on CCTV.


Gwent Police said in response that they will “review this case to ensure that any lessons are learnt for the future”.

The footage of Bennett and Tantrum’s appalling attack on their victim outside their Commercial Street flat was shown to Judge Jeremy Jenkins.

CPS Wales have released the video.

Prosecutor Matthew Roberts said the pair set upon him after an argument between the two parties over the complainant’s dog and theirs.

The couple’s dog had bitten the victim and he got hold of their pet’s lead as he feared for his pooch.

Mr Roberts told Cardiff Crown Court: “Chantelle Bennett was shouting at Mr Sutton, ‘Let go of my dog’. She was screaming at him.

“The defendant approached with a bottle in her hand and she was indeed trying to hit his partner with the bottle.

“Mr Sutton pushed her to the back of the neck and to the floor.

“She smashed the bottle of Desperadoes alcohol. Rebecca Tantrum left the address and came towards Mr Sutton with the hammer.”

The CCTV footage showed Tantrum hitting the victim to the body with the hammer and Bennett throwing punches at him before they all fall to the floor.

The three then grappled on the ground as Mr Sutton’s partner and other witnesses tried to break up the melee before the police arrived.

The officers initially arrested and handcuffed the victim before, Mr Roberts said, they realised it was the women who were the “aggressors”.

The prosecutor added: “During the incident, Bennett shouted, ‘Go on. Whack him!’ Tantrum said, ‘I’m going to kill you.’”

Both defendants pleaded guilty to causing Mr Sutton actual bodily harm on the evening of Friday, July 5, 2019.

Tantrum also admitted possessing an offensive weapon and cannabis.

Judge Jenkins said: “Each of these defendants deserves to go immediately into custody for their violent behaviour.”

But, he added, he would have to suspend the sentences because of the unacceptable delay.

The judge added: “This case highlights once again how the court’s hands are being tied by the use of released under investigation procedures.

“Once again the court is dealing with an offence that is a year old and these defendants, it seems, have not offended in the interim.

“The delay is not due to the pandemic and, it must be stressed, not due to any action or inaction on their behalf.

“This delay is solely due to the fact that despite the police having the incident captured live on CCTV, they did nothing and released the defendants under investigation.”

Judge Jenkins said: “That has led to an unconscionable delay in the proceedings which means that because of it, the court now finds it would be unjust to send them immediately into custody for offending which is 12 months old.

“This is happening time and time again, and the general public, who sometimes criticise the courts and judges for what they consider to be light sentences, should be aware for the reason why.”

Bennett was jailed for 10 months and Tantrum for 12 months, with both terms suspended for 12 months.

They must each complete a 30-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

Jeffrey Jones, representing, Bennett said: “There was an element of provocation. She was manhandled to the ground.”

Rosamund Rutter, mitigating for Tantrum, said: “She is appalled by her actions.”

Outside the court, Detective Chief Superintendent Nicky Brain said: “We take his Honour Judge Jeremy Jenkins’ comments very seriously and any delays to a victim receiving justice are unacceptable.

“We recognise that a number of factors can influence how quickly the criminal justice system can respond but we will always work to ensure we act in a timely way. We will review this case to ensure that any lessons are learnt for the future.”