Brighton man jailed after causing life changing injuries

A man has been sentenced after causing life changing injuries to a woman in Brighton.

On July 16, 2022, Lewis Hilton was out drinking with friends in Brighton. He was also under the influence of cocaine, having admitted to taking a large quantity before leaving his house, and taking further amounts throughout the evening.

At around 3am, a friend in the group decided it was time to head home for the night and arranged to get a lift from Baker Street.

Hilton was agitated by this and made attempts to prevent her leaving.

As the friend was about to enter the vehicle to take her home, Hilton launched the contents of a pint glass he was holding at her, covering her with alcohol. Seconds later, Hilton whipped the glass in her direction, striking her in the face.

The victim fell to the floor and was immediately aware of a large gash to her forehead. She was taken to hospital where it was found that she also sustained a skull fracture and two bleeds on the brain.

After reporting the incident to police, Lewis Hilton, 26, of Craven Road, Brighton was arrested on July 27, 2022, and later charged with grievous bodily harm.

At his trial in August 2023, he was found guilty of the offence, and was sentenced on January 11 to five years imprisonment and also given a five year restraining order.

The victim prepared a powerful impact statement which was read out in court. It said:

“Since the incident, my life has changed completely. Lewis Hilton and I were friends for at least six years and typically got on very well.

“After Lewis threw the glass at me, I felt completely betrayed by him. My physical and mental health has completely changed as a direct result of the injuries he has caused me.”

She goes on to say:

“One of the biggest ways my life has been affected is in my memory. I have very poor recall and I am not able to easily process new information.

“Whenever I look in the mirror, I feel incredibly upset. The scar on my face is a physical reminder of a terrible event and the injuries have been life changing. I am not myself at all and I feel like my life has been changed forever.”

Detective Sergeant Josh Bellamy said:

“Lewis Hilton has been rightly convicted and imprisoned following a horrendous assault against a victim who considered him a friend.

“Hilton tried to hide behind his voluntary consumption of alcohol and cocaine as being an excuse for his actions.

“The victim – who is only 24 – has been left with permanent scars which are visible reminders of what happened that night. Despite the significant injuries he caused to his own friend, he maintained that he had been unjustly treated and that he was not ultimately responsible for his actions.”

During the sentencing, the victim’s mother described her daughter as being “A shadow of her former self” and that her daughter had “completely changed”.

When passing sentence, Her Honour Judge Widdecour said:

“That young woman’s life is going to be very different – it already is, and will remain so.

“Her driving licence has been withdrawn and there is no evidence that she will be able to find and hold down a job.

“She previously had been very sociable and that has changed too. All of this is because that night you were so drunk and so affected by drugs. All of that is because of your behaviour.”

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