Two men jailed for savage attack

TWO men who left their victim with serious injuries after attacking him in his own home have been jailed.

Andrew Ford suffered permanent brain damage after he was punched and kicked in the head by Christopher Hilton and Paul Bishop, Durham Crown Court heard.

“It seems the victim was having an argument with his partner outside his home in Second Street, Blackhall,” said Sean Dodds, prosecuting.

“A number of people gathered, including Hilton and Bishop who had not previously met the man they were to attack.

“The victim went inside and Bishop followed, telling the man: ‘If you go on like that, I’m going to put you to sleep’.

“Things seemed to calm down, but Bishop then punched the man to the head, knocking him behind a sofa.”

The court heard both Hilton and Bishop punched and kicked their 34-year-old victim to the head, leaving him unconscious.

Mr Dodds added: “The injuries needed major surgery and the victim spent 17 days in intensive care.

“He is unable to make a victim impact statement, but his mother says her son has lost his job and has been left with mobility problems and difficulties with concentration.

“His character has changed, and his mother thinks he will never be the same again.”

Bishop, 28, of no fixed address, and Hilton, 21, of Brandlings Way, Peterlee, denied wounding with intent to grievous bodily harm on June 5.

They admitted the lesser charge of unlawful wounding after a medical expert said the victim may have suffered his most serious head injury when he hit the floor, not as a direct result of the blows from Bishop and Hilton.

The lesser charge admitted by the two men carries a maximum sentence of five years.

Lawyers for the pair said both were sorry and had no idea the victim was so badly hurt.

Judge Christopher Prince jailed Hilton for 32 months and Bishop for 30 months.

“The maximum for this offence is five years,” said the judge. “The starting point after a trial would be four years.

“You are both entitled to the maximum credit available to any defendant who pleads guilty.”