Dumped Fareham husband jailed for baseball bat assault on his ex-wife’s new love

Grant Smith. Below, David Snudden leaving Portsmouth Crown Court, and the baseball bat Smith used in the attack
Grant Smith. Below, David Snudden leaving Portsmouth Crown Court, and the baseball bat Smith used in the attack

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A JILTED husband who broke into the home of his ex-wife’s new partner and beat him with a baseball bat in a jealous rage has been jailed for 12 years.

Grant Smith, 39, set upon David Snudden after seeing him naked with his ex-wife in bed.

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The attack was so brutal it broke Mr Snudden’s arm and snapped the baseball bat in half.

Smith then boasted to police when he was arrested: ‘You should’ve seen what I did to him’.

Debbie Smith, who had started formal separation proceedings shortly before the attack, told Portsmouth Crown Court that she had been woken up at around 7am on July 29 last year by Smith standing at the bottom of the bed holding a baseball bat.

Mrs Smith, 44, said: ‘I saw Grant with the baseball bat above his head (holding it with) two hands and then he brought it down on Dave.

David Snudden

David Snudden

‘It hit the back of his head. It frightened me. I screamed. I thought he had killed him. The bat broke, half of it flew across the room.’

In a desperate attempt to protect Mr Snudden, 44, she threw herself across him, but Smith pulled her away.

After striking Mr Snudden four times at his home in Place House Close, Fareham – twice to the arms and twice to the head, the last strike breaking the bat – Smith walked out of the front door taking half of the bat with him.

Mrs Smith, an IT manager, frantically called 999 when the attack was happening, as did Smith a few minutes later from outside his house.

When police went to Smith’s house in Knowle Avenue, Fareham, they found him with injuries to his face after Mr Snudden fought back in the attack, six empty cans of premixed vodka in the living room and the bottom half of the broken bat in a bush.

The court heard that Smith had flown into a jealous rage when he heard Mrs Smith had gone to Spain on holiday with Mr Snudden. He was under the impression that Mrs Smith was going away with a female friend. But when he discovered the truth, he called Mr Snudden and said: ‘Game over’.

The couple immediately rang police in Fareham and organised a meeting with them for their return.

When they arrived back in the UK four days later, their plane was delayed and the airline lost Mrs Smith’s suitcase which led to the police postponing the meeting.

The couple headed to Mr Snudden’s house to stay the night, unaware that Smith knew the address.

A few hours later Mrs Smith woke up to see her ex-husband enter the bedroom holding the bat.

As Mr Snudden, an insurance worker, suffers from a hearing impediment, he did not wake up immediately – only after the first blow.

Giving evidence, Smith said he had recognised Mr Snudden’s car on the driveway after looking for a property similar to how Mr Snudden had described it over drinks at Arty’s Wine Bar, in Knowle, where they all used to drink.

Smith said he wanted to take a photograph to catch the pair so that he could cite adultery in the divorce, after Mrs Smith had applied for a separation which came through in July.

He said: ‘Something took over. The phone went down into the pocket and I started moving towards David and then the bat that was down came up.

‘I started swinging for the largest area – his shoulders, back, neck – pretty hard. There was definitely some venom there.’

Breaking down several times in court, Smith said he had thought that Mrs Smith and Mr Snudden had been cheating for months and he saw their holiday in Spain as validation of their illicit affair.

He said: ‘It was almost robotic. No screaming. No cursing. No nothing. It was just… within seconds Debbie threw herself over him. The bat was already coming down. There was no way she was getting hit with it. I swerved and it came down right on top of his head.’

Smith denied charges of wounding with intent, aggravated burglary and making threats to kill during a jury trial at Portsmouth Crown Court.

He admitted trespassing, causing grievous bodily harm and wounding without intent.

He said: ‘It may well be the stupidest thing I have ever done. I should never have got out of bed that day. Nobody deserves that.’

The jury found him guilty of burglary and wounding with intent and he was given a 12-year jail sentence.

Speaking after the ruling, Mr Snudden, an insurance worker, said: ‘I am emotionally drained. I don’t know if I feel disappointed. I think I am pleased.’

Mrs Smith said: ‘I am pleased that it is over. I just want to move on. This has taken over our lives for the last six months.’

Debbie’s mum Lesley Barnes, who watched the proceedings from the public gallery, said: ‘It will have a lasting effect for all the people concerned.’

Her dad Mike Barnes said: ‘There are no winners in this situation. It was an appalling thing to happen.

‘It was just dreadful. We think the verdict of the jury was right. It is a dreadful, dreadful situation and it was all his choice.’

Chance encounter led to friendly reunion

A CHANCE meeting in a restaurant led to Debbie Smith rekindling a friendship with David Snudden.

The old school friends ran into each other in a restaurant in December 2013, after they had not seen each other for 16 years.

They became friendly and began to meet without the knowledge of Grant Smith – although Mr Snudden said he did not know it was being kept quiet.

When Mr Smith discovered the pair had been meeting he warned Mr Snudden to stay away from his wife over drinks at Arty’s Wine Bar in Knowle.

Mr and Mrs Smith married in April 2007 and had been together for 12 years, living in Knowle Avenue, Fareham. They both had teenage children from previous relationships.

They separated in March last year, when Mrs Smith ended it, but they carried on living together while Smith was looking for a place to stay.

He took voluntary redundancy from his job in IT sales at IBM in April and had been due to start a new job as a wealth adviser in Paris in August. While the pair were living in the same house, various arguments ensued, with Mrs Smith calling Mr Snudden during one asking for his help.

When Mr Snudden arrived at their house in his car, Smith ran out from the house and banged his hands on the window saying ‘Dave to the rescue again.’

The Smiths’ legal separation came through on July 1 but Smith took the news badly.

When he discovered Mr Snudden and Mrs Smith were abroad together he rang Mr Snudden, as well as sending Mrs Smith photos of herself naked, something he said he did to ‘ruin their holiday’.