Cleon Smith, 43, beat a woman so badly she had to get a metal plate inserted into her eye socket. He then rammed his victim’s car and repeatedly struck her with a meat cleaver
Image: WEST MIDLANDS POLICE/UNPIXS (EUROPE))
A vile thug who hacked at a woman and her relatives with a meat cleaver before going on the run has been put behind bars.
Domestic abuser Cleon Smith, 43, beat the woman so badly she now has a permanent metal plate in her face to hold her damaged eye socket in place.
Smith, of no fixed abode, was jailed for 32 years after being found guilty of attempted murder and six other offences at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday.
He has also been given a restraining order against all those affected by his crimes.
His campaign of terror started just days after Christmas in the early hours of December 27, 2019, Birmingham Live reports.
Just after 5am, Smith violently beat a 42-year-old woman at an address in Moseley, punching her around 20 times and striking her with a metal baton.
The woman suffered a fractured cheekbone and required surgery to her eye. She now wears a permanent metal plate which holds her eye socket in place.
Three days later, around 8.30pm on 30 December 2019, Smith was driving a car in Hansworth, when he rammed into another car occupied by the woman and two of her family members.
Both cars stopped and Smith dragged the 42-year-old woman from her car and repeatedly struck her with a meat cleaver. She suffered cuts to her head and a wound to her hand, while a 21-year-old woman was also cut on the hand.
Police issued an urgent appeal to the public to help find Smith following the vicious attack.
A team of officers dedicated to tracing Smith for almost two weeks executed warrants at 10 separate addresses across Birmingham during the manhunt.
As a direct result of intelligence gathered by officers, followed by a rapid CCTV trawl and search of Balsall Heath, they found him hiding inside a kitchen cupboard at an address in the area on January 10, 2020.
Officers were keen to get justice for the woman and began compiling evidence immediately. As well as recovering and analysing CCTV from the scene of the Church Vale attack, they traced his movements in the days prior to provide a thorough timeline of events.
A forensic examination of the meat cleaver was carried out after officers located it in a box during a search of a house in Sherron Gardens. The DNA of Cleon Smith was found on the handle and the DNA from both women he attacked was on the blade.
Following his arrest and while on remand, waiting for his trial, Smith made several phone calls to his victim in the hope that she would stop supporting the prosecution against him.
Police officers, working with the prison, were able to request a search of Smith and his prison cell. A mobile phone was recovered and subject to a digital examination, which showed it had been used to make the calls.
Smith denied all charges, but overwhelming evidence led to a jury finding him guilty of attempted murder, two assault charges, threats to kill, dangerous driving and witness intimidation.
Investigating officer Sam Blackburn, at West Midlands Police, said: “Cleon Smith is a very dangerous man and we’re please he’s now behind bars for the safety of this woman and others.
“Following the attack in Handsworth we deployed a large number of resources to catch him and bring him to justice.
“Domestic abuse remains a key focus for the force and we’re committed to catching perpetrators.
“We will do everything we can to safeguard and support victims whilst bringing the offenders to justice. I hope this case and the sentencing result today demonstrates that commitment.
“We have specially trained officers to support victims and also work with charities and refuges across the region.
“We’d urge anyone who has suffered domestic abuse to contact us. However, if you do not feel comfortable contacting police there are many other agencies who can offer support and advice. Visit No Excuse for Abuse for more information.
“Ask for ANI” (Action Needed Immediately) enables victims of domestic abuse to access immediate help from the police or other support services, from the safety of their local pharmacy.”