A CUMBRIAN mum subjected to 'terrifying' violence by her son made an emotional plea for leniency, asking a judge to send him to a psychiatric hospital, not a prison.

In a poignant statement addressed to Judge Michael Fanning, Sophie Hamilton described her 42-year-old son Nicholas Wisniewski as 'generous, intelligent, loving, articulate and talented.'

But he had been left angry following a childhood trauma, she said.

She urged the judge to impose a sentence that would focus on 'recovery' after the defendant pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm on her during a incident at her Kendal home.

The offence came to light on the afternoon of July 18 last year when, at 1.12pm, Ms Hamilton called the police, saying her son had tried to hurt her, Carlisle Crown Court heard. In a broken voice, she said that if Wisniewski knew she was on the phone to the police, he would 'hit and kill her'.

She also said the defendant had been choking her.

When police arrived at her Kendal home, they found Wisniewski lying on the kitchen floor, covered in blood. The officers tried to engage with him but he attempted to shut the door on them.

He was eventually handcuffed and arrested. Both Wisniewski and his mother were visibly injured, the court heard.

Ms Hamilton later confirmed that the previous day Wisniewski visited a local shop and then, after returning home, she went to bed for a nap.

“She was woken up by the defendant in her bedroom, ripping all the covers off her bed,” the prosecutor told the court.

He had blood dripping down his face, though his mother had no idea how he was injured.

Wisniewski then placed his hands around her throat, and choked her, the court heard. After this, he threw things around the room, the court heard. “She feared for her life,” said the prosecutor. A day earlier, he told her she was going to die, leaving her terrified.

Paramedics were concerned for Ms Hamilton’s injuries, diagnosing broken bones in her neck and face and a shoulder injury. She struggled to swallow and speak. At hospital, doctors confirmed she had a fractured eye socket.

“Nicholas has been very angry,” Ms Hamilton told the court. 

She said her son had self-harmed for a long time, including on July 17 last year when at her house. “It was a cry for help,” she said, confirming that she believed her son could harm himself further.

A psychiatric report spoke of him reliving a childhood trauma. Yet before the offence, he had never touched her in anger, she said.

He brought her gifts three or four times per week. She went on to urge Judge Fanning to send her son to a secure hospital which could help him – though the judge said this was not an option for legal reasons.

“My son’s life is one I believe is worth saving,” she added. Responding, Judge Fanning said he had received no clear medical evidence to support that option.

Kim Whittlestone, defending, said Wisniewski accepted he would remain in prison for the foreseeable future. He was recently diagnosed with a brain injury, which caused a personality disorder.

He was also suffering PTSD, she said.

In prison, Wisniewski had become an “enhanced prisoner,” acting as a literacy mentor. “But he has had no support at all for his mental health while he has been in there,” added the barrister.

From his prison video booth, Wisniewski, of Pevensey Road, Eastbourne, said some details of his case were 'not entirely accurate' but he accepted full responsibility.

“This chapter of my life has been a nightmare,” he said, adding that he would have to live with the crushing guilt.

Judge Fanning said the offence was domestic violence, aggravated by the breach of trust between Wisniewski and his mother.

“She said she believed she was going to die – not just because of what you were physically doing, but also because of what you were saying," said the judge. "Her terror was very, very clear.”

The victim had said Wisniewski always had an anger problem.

“You were screaming out for help at the time of this incident,” said the judge, lamenting the lack of mental health support in prisons. But the defendant’s behaviour was abhorrent.

The judge accepted that PTSD affected Wisniewski, but it did not excuse his violence. He had been assessed as a 'high risk' to his mother.

Judge Fanning jailed Wisniewski for two years and one month, saying that such offending required an immediate prison term.