Jailed: Hammer-wielding man jailed for grudge attack in Dudley yard
An odd job man who attacked a van driver with a claw hammer has been jailed for more than three years.
Father of six James Whyte held a grudge against Lee Avey and snapped when he saw him coming into the yard at Total Sheds in Dudley Road West, Dudley, a judge heard.
The 34-year-old got a hammer from one of the vans that were being loaded for the day’s work and launched a “vicious and unprovoked” attack on the other man shortly before 7am on August 29, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.
Whyte, of Ashenhurst Road, Russells Hall, walked up to Mr Avey from behind and hit him over the head with the hammer three times, knocking him out, said Ms Cathlyn Orchard, prosecuting.
Mr Avey came round to find Whyte standing over him with the weapon, warning: “I am going to break your legs and kill you,” continued Ms Orchard.
Whyte struck Mr Avey five times on the legs before walking away and throwing the hammer into the rear of the van from which he had taken it.
As he left he paused to issue another threat to kill Mr Avey. He gave himself up days later.
Mr Avey was battered and bruised during the horrifying ordeal but had no broken bones.
He said he suffered from flashbacks and kept “looking over his shoulder” when he went out. He added: “All I was doing was trying to make a living.”
Mr Richard McConaghy, defending, explained Whyte, who had lost his left thumb in an accident and was struggling to cope with life, was allowed to come to the yard to help out but was not on the payroll.
“In his own mind he had a problem with Mr Avey but had not set out to attack him,” said Mr McConaghy, who explained the defendant expected his 'nemesis' to have left the yard before he arrived and reacted on the spur of the moment when he saw him.
Whyte admitted attempting to inflict grievous bodily harm with intent.
He was jailed for three years and one month, and banned from ever making contact with the victim.
Judge Simon Ward told him: “I accept you must have borne a grudge against Lee Avey and decided to attack him as soon as you saw him but, to your credit, you stopped of your own accord and handed yourself in to the police.”
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