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Vicious attack scars grandmother

VIOLENT and subject to paranoia, Michael Paul Stevens will be back on Lismore's streets next year, despite his cowardly and nasty attack on a 59-year-old aged-care nurse and grandmother at the Lismore Square shopping centre.

After hitting her car with his fist as she drove around him in the car park, an enraged Stevens verbally abused then dragged the woman from her car, grabbed her head and smashed her face into the side of her car's door pillar before slamming the door on her leg and fingers as she tried to protect herself.

Stevens, 28, of Lismore, appeared this week before a Lismore Local Court magistrate, who jailed him for 16 months and ordered he serve a non-parole term of 12 months.

His unprovoked attack destroyed the professional career and personal life of the victim, who was left so traumatised that she has given up her health career and now fears going out.

Stevens pleaded guilty to assaulting the Lismore woman and causing her bodily harm at the shopping centre on April 14. With time already served he will be released from jail next April.

With no apology to his victim and pages of violent criminal offences on his police record, Magistrate Michael Dakin said he had 'grave reservations' about Stevens' prospects of rehabilitation.

“For a man of 28 years he has been before the court an almost incalculable number of times for offences of violence,” Mr Dakin said.

“I have grave reservations about his prospects for rehabilitation. He has underlying personality issues and a substantial disorder.”

Mr Dakin said the woman suffered 'substantial emotional harm and loss' before reading aloud extracts from her victim impact statement.

He said her words 'since April my world has been turned upside down' summed up what had happened as a result of the attack.

She resigned her job as a trained dementia aged-care nurse because she could not work following the attack. She could not cope with the potential anger.

Mr Dakin said the woman lost confidence in her work, missed her job terribly and no longer went out as she feared confrontation.

“I was previously a very confident fun-loving person, now I am scared and angry,” she wrote.

Reading from a psychological report on Stevens, Mr Dakin quoted: “He will require skilful and patient therapeutic intervention over an extended period of time. His paranoid predisposition will make it challenging.”

Defence lawyer Ralph James acknowledged a jail sentence was deserved, but argued the assault had been with a car door and was a mid-range offence.

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