A NURSING assistant left with two broken teeth after being punched in the face by a violent thug has blasted a judge for not sending her assailant to jail.

Hayleigh Ambrose was excited to be heading out into her hometown of Hook with friend Jessica Hilary to celebrate her 28th birthday on July 25, last year.

But the night ended in hospital after the pair were attacked by Brovie Smithson, of Wool Grove, Andover, when they defended his girlfriend during an argument.

Despite the assault being captured on CCTV, the 24-year-old, who was already serving a suspended sentence, was spared prison and ordered to pay Hayleigh £250 in compensation and Jessica £100.

Furious at the judge's decision, Hayleigh has spoken out in the hope that violence crimes against women will be taken more seriously.

"The impact of being punched in the nose [is serious], it can kill you. If you get hit wrong, that could be it, you’re done.Which is why it’s so frustrating for us that he got off. It’s baffling," she said.

"This is why women don't come forward, because it seems like such a waste of time. People go to prison for less offences."

Recounting the night that the incident happened, the mother-of-two said it began at The White Hart pub in Hook when they got talking to another group of people. She said: “We’ve never had any problems when we’ve gone out. We usually make friends with people who are out anyway.

“This one evening, everything was fine. There was a girl that I knew who was at the pub, and [Smithson] happened to be her friend’s partner. We started just talking as a group.”

Hayleigh said around an hour or two into their night, things started to go downhill with a fight starting between Smithson and his girlfriend.

“He was going for her. He was shouting at her, calling her names,” said Hayleigh.

“I just said to him, ‘leave her alone. That’s your girlfriend, she’s in an absolute state and you’re making her cry’ and he proceeded to call me names and stuff and Jess said, ‘Hayleigh let’s just go’.”

Hayleigh said that while she didn’t know the couple, defending his girlfriend was a “natural instinct”, adding: “I think any woman should defend another woman. No woman deserves to be picked on. To see a woman sitting on the floor, crying her eyes out, shaking and scared, I’m going to say something.”

Leaving the pub, the pair headed up the road to the Old White Hart on the same street. They were sat in the beer garden there, when Smithson arrived, walking in and out continuously.

“He kept kicking off and shouting and flapping his arms around,” recalls Hayleigh.

“I said, ‘Let’s call a truce. I don’t want any problems’. And as I said that, he punched me straight in the mouth,” she said.

Describing the moment she was punched, the nursing assistant continued: “I fell back, but then got back up again - it was like I bounced off the floor!"

As her friend Jess stood up in her defence, Smithson then punched her on the nose.

Hayleigh was taken to hospital in an ambulance. Her jaw was out of line, she suffered soft tissue and ligament damage, and had two broken teeth.

Meanwhile, Jess was left with two black eyes and a swollen nose.

“I then had to go to the dentist and have my teeth fixed and be fitted with a gum shield, because where my jaw was damaged I now have a jaw click so every time I’m eating my jaw is constantly clicking,” she said.

“I might have to go to the doctors and be referred, because it’s getting worse.

“The next day, Jess came over on my birthday. She had two black eyes and a swollen nose. Because it was an absolute mess and we’d had this **** night basically, I laughed and I couldn’t even laugh. The pain in my face was horrific.

“I couldn’t even eat on my birthday.”

The pair attended the sentencing at Winchester Crown Court on March 12 and were left furious that Smithson was spared prison by Recorder Noel Casey.

“It was on CCTV. They said it was really good that he pleaded guilty, but he had no choice, it was there in black and white,” said Hayleigh.

“I think the justice system needs to be looked at, especially with everything that’s going on at the moment with the police and what happened to that girl [Sarah Everard].

Hayleigh said she has been left angry and furious by the ordeal, saying: "I feel like there is no justice out there. He did what he did, he was on a suspended sentence, yet got another suspended sentence. There’s nothing to stop him from doing that again."

“Because the judge said he’d gone over the threshold for a prison sentence for one count, you’d think for two he should be inside.”

Talking about the lasting impacts of the assault, she said: “I’m not being funny, £250 isn’t going to fix my jaw. £250 isn’t going to make any difference to how I’ll feel if I went back to that pub again.

She added: “I just think that courts should take it more seriously before someone gets hurt a damn sight worse.”