A Brighton man is suing Sussex Police after he claims they did not protect him from the violence of his former partner.

Stephen Smith, 38, was attacked with a hammer by a man he had met on the internet after he made it clear he did not want a committed relationship.

Gareth Jeffrey had bombarded him with text messages threatening to kill him, which Mr Smith said he reported to officers before the attack took place in March 2003.

Among the texts Jeffrey sent was one saying he had lain in wait for Mr Smith in a pub while carrying a carving knife.

The attack, which took place outside of Smith’s home when he was on his way to work, left him with three depressed fractures of the skull.

Jeffrey is now serving a ten year sentence after pleading guilty at Lewes Crown Court for causing GBH with intent and threats to kill.

Heather Williams, Mr Smith’s lawyer, told Brighton paper The Argus that the Sussex force had failed to adhere to its policy on domestic violence and had breached its duty under the Human Rights Act.

Edward Faulks, the chief constable of Sussex Police, said the introduction of the Human Rights Act had not altered the law on the “duty of care.”

Mr Smith’s lawyers said he would receive “substantial” damages should he win the case.