Addict is jailed for brutal attack

A DRUG addict who launched a ferocious attack on a vulnerable man has been jailed for 15 months.

David Rutherford, 32, beat the man after bursting into his home in the early hours of the morning.

Teesside Crown Court heard Rutherford felt he had been ripped off in a drug deal and demanded his money back.

He punched the man at least five times and left him covered in blood.

While the attack was happening, Michelle Clayton, 35, stole £20 belonging to the victim.

Rutherford and Clayton turned up at the victim’s house, in the Dyke House area of Hartlepool, at around 1am on November 2 last year.

Ian Mullarkey, prosecuting said: “David Rutherford went into the complainant’s home and assaulted him.

“He struck him repeatedly and demanded he return the money he had given him earlier to buy drugs.

“The complainant is described as being a bit slow and vulnerable and at the time was being exploited by others.”

The victim suffered bruising and swelling and was kept in hospital overnight after losing consciousness during the attack.

Rutherford was arrested and claimed he had been ripped off by the victim over two wraps of heroin he had bought.

James Withyman, mitigating for Rutherford, said: “He is not a violent, aggressive man generally.”

Rutherford, of Romaine Park, Hartlepool, admitted actual bodily harm while Clayton, also of Romaine Park, pleaded guilty to theft.

She was given 12 months probation with supervision.

Judge Michael Taylor said: “This was a ferocious attack.”