Domestic abuser jailed for 32 years after roadside meat cleaver attack on woman and family

A domestic abuser who dragged a woman from a car and attacked her with a meat cleaver has been locked up for 32 years.

Cleon Smith has been sentenced to 32 years in prison. Photo: West Midlands Police
Cleon Smith has been sentenced to 32 years in prison. Photo: West Midlands Police

Cleon Smith was subject to a two-week manhunt after the brutal attack which happened in front of the woman's family at 8.30am in December 2019.

He was driving in Church Vale, Handsworth, when he rammed his car into a vehicle with the woman and two of her relatives inside.

Both cars stopped and Smith dragged the 42-year-old woman from her vehicle and repeatedly struck her with a meat cleaver, leaving her with cuts to her head and a wound to her hand, while a 21-year-old woman was also cut on the hand.

Three days earlier, Smith had beaten up the same 42-year-old woman, punching her around 20 times and striking her with a metal baton just after 5am at an address in Moseley.

She was left needing a metal plate to hold her eye socket in place.

Smith went on the run following the meat cleaver attack and was eventually tracked down after a major police appeal and searches of 10 houses across Birmingham.

He was eventually found hiding inside a kitchen cupboard at an address in Cannon Hill Place, Balsall Heath.

The meat cleaver used to attack his victim was found in a box at a house in Sherron Gardens. Smith's DNA was found on the handle and the DNA of both of his victims was found on the blade.

Then, despite being on remand waiting trial, Smith made several phone calls to the woman he had twice attacked in the hope that she would stop supporting the prosecution against him.

A search of his prison cell uncovered a mobile phone which was found to have made the calls.

Smith, of no fixed abode, denied all charges, but was found guilty of attempted murder, two counts of assault, threats to kill, dangerous driving and witness intimidation.

He was sentenced to 32 years in prison at Birmingham Crown Court on Thursday.

He was also given a restraining order against all those affected by his crimes.

Investigating officer Sam Blackburn, from West Midlands Police CID, 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."

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