A “highly decorated” former police inspector with an “exemplary” career behind him left his wife with bleeding on the brain when he attacked her with a prosecco bottle.
Marc Winter went from serving and protecting to injuring and harming in a vicious assault on his partner, Selina, also a police officer.
A court heard he suddenly attacked her at their bungalow after they had been out for a drink and she ended up collapsing unconscious after finally getting out.
Winter, 58, who served with Northumbria Police for 23 years and Leicestershire Police before that, pleaded guilty to causing unlawful wounding.
A judge at Newcastle Crown Court said only his career as a police officer, which ended in 2016, saved him from going immediately to prison.
Mrs Winter said in a victim impact statement that her life had changed considerably following the attack by the person she loved and trusted and was still suffering pain from her injuries months later and had lost some hair.
She said she was suffering daily headaches, fatigue, insomnia and dizziness and was unable to drive for six months due to her injuries.
Mrs Winter added:
“I can’t believe my husband could do this to me after 15 years.
“As a police officer of 12 years, I have responded to many domestic incidents and spoken to victims and perpetrators but I’m struggling to come to terms with being on the other side and being a victim myself. I feel like I’m looking in on someone else’s life.
“I’ve had 12 years of self-defence training and I did nothing. That’s proving hard to come to terms with.
“Over the last 12 years I have responded to several violent incidents but I’ve never felt as frightened or fearful as I did on that day.
“I genuinely thought I was going to die. I know how lucky I am to be here and able to type this victim personal statement.”
The court heard the couple, who are no longer together, had been partners for approaching 15 years, were married for the last four and lived in Whitley Bay.
On August 23 last year, they went to a local pub around 5.30pm and left around 10pm, stopping on their way home to buy a bottle of prosecco and some food.
When they got home, they were watching TV and Winter brought up the subject of some marital difficulties they were having, which Mrs Winter did not want to discuss.
She said Winter “would not let it drop” and she tried ignoring him.
In a statement describing what happened, Mrs Winter said the empty or almost empty bottle of Prosecco was on the coffee table in front of the sofa.
She said: “I suddenly felt a hard blow to the right side of my head. He was then over me and I felt four or five blows across my head.”
Mrs Winter said they felt like full force blows and she saw he was using the bottle to hit her.
Winter told her “this is the only way this is going to end”
Mrs Winter added: “It was like he just lost it for a couple of minutes.”
He let her get up but then blocked her from getting out of the front door.
Mrs Winter, bleeding from a head wound, struggled with her husband to try to get out and cried out for help from neighbours.
She eventually got out, with nothing on her feet, but was unable to rouse any neighbours to help.
She made it back to the pub, where she collapsed on the floor, losing consciousness twice, and paramedics arrived to take her to hospital.
Ian West, prosecuting, said her hair was covered in blood and stuck together and a CT scan revealed bleeding on the surface of the brain. She also had grazes to her head.
When Winter was arrested, he claimed: “I’ve been hit over the head with a glass and acted in self-defence”.
In police interview, he declined to answer questions.
Winter, of Whitley Bay, pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding and was sentenced to two years suspended for two years and must do 120 hours unpaid work.
Judge Amanda Rippon told Winter:
“You were protecting and serving the public for going on four decades and this is an ignominious end to what was a character properly described as not just good but exemplary.
“Instead of protecting, you injured. Instead of serving, you harmed.
“I need to make it clear, this is an exceptional course I’m taking because when a husband picks up a bottle and hits his wife over the head multiple times, they generally go straight to prison.
“The only reason I’ve told you I would not send you to prison is because of the life you led up until August last year.”
Jane Waugh, defending, said Mrs Winter has now moved to Turkey while on maternity leave with her Turkish partner, adding: “He is not trying to say what she suffered at his hands was not a terrible ordeal or that she didn’t suffer pain afterwards.”
Miss Waugh said Winter is attending counselling with a psychotherapist.
The court heard he was in the army before joining the police and had PTSD.
Character references spoke of him as being hard working and professional and someone who cared about the public and his family.
Winter worked for Leicestershire Police from 1988 until 1993 and Northumbria Police from 1993 until 2016.