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Middlesbrough hammer attacker jailed for nine years
AN attacker who battered a neighbour with a metal hammer shaft was yesterday jailed for nine years for what a judge described as a persistent assault.
The victim suffered at least eight separate wounds to his face and head in the onslaught from 34-year-old Paul Nash, in his home in Middlesbrough, in June.
The two men clashed after their girlfriends had a fight and the victim intervened to separate them, prosecutor Donald MacFaul told Teesside Crown Court.
Nash and his partner, Helen Webb, 30, fled from the house, in Union Street, and Ms Webb was seen by neighbours trying to hide the weapon down a drain.
She appeared in court alongside her boyfriend on a charge of assisting an offender and was spared prison – despite pleading from the dock to be locked up. As she left court with a suspended jail sentence, dark-haired Webb tearfully told friends in the public gallery: “He should have sent me to jail.”
Her nine-month term was suspended for 12 months with conditions that she undergoes Probation Service supervision and an alcohol treatment course.
Webb admitted her charge and Nash, who has a history of violence, pleaded guilty to a charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
The court heard that he was jailed for seven years for robbery in 2003, when he went into a shop and threatened staff with a hammer before stealing £300.
His barrister, Brian Russell, told Judge Howard Crowson that Nash had matured and slowed down his offending dramatically over the past decade.
He added: “Not only does he frankly admit responsibility for his actions, he has expressed his disgust with himself and his sorrow for the injuries he has caused.”
The victim has been left with a “lazy eye” and describes himself as having become paranoid since the June 10 attack, Mr MacFaul told the court.
Peter Kilgour, for Webb, said: “She does have a tendency, when in drink, to act in an unthinking manner.
“She says that she was acting in a daze on this occasion.
“There was an element of stress, an element of panic and the emotional strain of what had happened prior to that.”
Judge Crowson said Webb had not greatly frustrated the investigation because neighbours told police where the weapon had been hidden.