A cowardly thug who smashed a bottle of beer over his girlfriend’s head, leaving her with permanent skull damage, has offered an extraordinary excuse for his actions – saying he was ‘just acting on instinct’.
James Russell struck his partner Bianca Campbell – then aged 18 – with a longneck of Carlton Dry and left her unconscious on a footpath in Chittaway, on the NSW Central Coast, in 2016.
‘I was nothing but a piece of dirt to him… The person who was meant to love me the most just left me there to die,’ Ms Campbell told A Current Affair this week.
The now 20-year-old was rushed to Wyong hospital with a large laceration and fracture. She will live the rest of her life with a depression in her skull.
Russell shirked responsibility and fled inside his home when confronted by the program this week.
‘It was my natural instinct… It was an accident. I didn’t meant to do that, that was never my intention,’ he said, adding he was just ‘trying to get her off my back’.
James Russell (left) struck his now ex-partner, Bianca Campbell (right) over the head with a longneck of beer in 2016. The attacker has offered an extraordinary excuse for his actions
‘I was nothing but a piece of dirt to him… The person who was meant to love me the most just left me there to die,’ Ms Campbell said
The 22-year-old then left his father William to do the talking.
‘It was an accident that occurred. If you could do the research and find out the facts, then I think you’ll agree, that’s all it is. A very unfortunate accident,’ Mr Russell said.
‘My son is deeply upset, deeply apologetic to the young lady… it simply boils down to the fact that this was an accident.’
Speaking of the horrific incident, Ms Campbell recalled how the couple ‘had a bit of a fight’ after buying three longnecks of beer from a local bottle shop.
The now 20-year-old was rushed to Wyong hospital with a large laceration and fractured skull
‘I said, ”can I just get my keys to get the stuff out of the car?” and he said, ”No, I don’t trust you”,’ she told the program.
‘I said, ”Well could you please walk to the car with me and get them out?” As we’re walking, he turned around and struck me with the bottle.
‘My shirt was drenched in blood, my whole stomach, my head, my hair, everything,’ Ms Campbell said.
‘I remember seeing him running away. All I remember was screaming ”James” and he didn’t stop. I remember just laying on the floor and hearing his car take off.’
‘It was my natural instinct… It was an accident. I didn’t meant to do that, that was never my intention,’ Russell said
Ms Campbell recalled how the couple ‘had a bit of a fight’ after buying three longnecks of beer from a local bottle shop
Ms Cambpell said Russell returned to the scene as she was comforted by witnesses while waiting for paramedics to arrive.
‘Telling me he was sorry and he loved me and didn’t mean for it to happen, but if you love someone, you don’t do that,’ Ms Campbell said.
She was rushed to hospital and later airlifted to Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital.
Russell was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, reckless grievous bodily harm and wounding, and using the beer bottle as a prohibited weapon.
Ms Cambpell said Russell returned to the scene as she was comforted by witnesses while waiting for paramedics to arrive
Russell struck his partner with a longneck of Carlton Dry and left her unconscious on a footpath (stock)
His lawyers applied to have his case dealt with under the Mental Health Act because he was dealing with depression and anxiety, but the application was rejected.
Russell pleaded guilty to one count of recklessly causing grievous bodily harm on the first day of his trial.
He was sentenced to one year and nine months’ behind bars, but may not spend a single day in jail.
Judge Michael Bozic said he accepted Russell demonstrated ‘genuine remorse and genuine regret’.
‘Essentially he has led a life free of violence, he has a job, he has (family) support, he has stable accommodation. I’m satisfied he does have very good prospects of rehabilitation,’ Judge Bozic said.
Despite receiving emergency surgery, Ms Campbell (pictured) was left with a permanent depression in her skull
Russell smashed the bottle across Ms Campbell’s (pictured) head and causing her to fall to the ground unconscious
Judge Bozic said he accepted his ‘offence occurred against a background of his mental health issues’, but believed it did not diminish his criminality.
He ordered the 23-year-old to undergo an assessment by Probation and Parole to assess whether he was suitable to serve his sentence in the community by way of an intensive corrections order.
Ms Campbell revealed in her impact statement the extent to which she had suffered and how her injuries were a ‘lifelong’ sentence for both herself and her family.
She said her anger and resentment toward Russell burned deep, particularly because he was ‘walking around happy like nothing has happened’.
Speaking outside court last month, Ms Campbell (pictured) said the sentence for Russell’s ‘unforgivable’ actions had left her ‘speechless’
Speaking outside court last month she said the sentence for Russell’s ‘unforgivable’ actions had left her ‘speechless’, Express Advocate reported.
‘I don’t think it’s fair the way domestic violence is dealt with,’ Ms Campbell said.
‘He smashed a bottle over some girl’s head and he doesn’t even face jail. It sends the wrong message to other domestic violence offenders they can do it and get away with it.
‘And it’s unfair to drag on for so long. We need more action about domestic violence especially with so many people doing it. Not only has these events affected me but the ripple effect on my whole family is unforgivable.’
Russell is due to appear in court for sentencing today.