Published Friday, 20 December 2013
The scene is The attack was described as "extreme" and "wholly unprovoked". (© UTV)
William Martin, of no fixed abode, launched an unprovoked attack on his friend Ryan Flynn at a house in Templemore Street in east Belfast on 12 September last year.
Blood splatters from the scene revealed that Mr Flynn - who sustained multiple skull fractures in the unprovoked attack - was hit with the hammer several times as he lay prone and defenceless on the ground.
Sentencing him on Friday to serve a nine-year jail term followed by three year extended licence upon his release, Judge Corrine Philpott QC told Martin the violence he metted out to his victim was "extreme", adding: "You lost control and you lost it completely."
A Crown prosecutor told Belfast Crown Court that Martin and Mr Flynn had a disagreement in the house at Templemore Street, during which Martin struck his friend on the head with 2.5lbs hammer he had bought two days earlier.
Branding the attack as "wholly unprovoked", the prosecutor said the first blow incapacitated Mr Flynn, but the assault continued.
As Mr Flynn lay in a pool of blood, Martin attempted to "clean up the scene" before leaving the house. Martin then walked to a nearby phone box where he called the ambulance service and directed them to the address.
He then handed himself into police, telling officers he believed he had killed his friend.
He subsequently admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Mr Flynn. The court heard Mr Flynn was rushed to hospital where he was treated for severe head injuries.
He also underwent "considerable rehabilitation treatment" and has been left with a number of medical issues as a result of the hammer attack, including post traumatic stress disorder.
The court also heard that whilst in custody, Martin attacked another prisoner by throwing boiling water over him.
Defence barrister Jim Gallagher QC said Martin had "repeatedly expressed strong remorse for his actions," and said "having inflicted these injuries, he then played a big part in saving Mr Flynn's life ... he telephoned an ambulance and he then went to the police station and handed himself in."
Mr Gallagher described his client as an "unhappy man" from a troubled background, adding that despite there being a difference of opinion about why the friends were arguing, there was no justification for what Martin did.
Judge Philpott said she accepted Martin was "emotionally disturbed" but said it was "very cruel" to attack a man with a hammer as he lay prone on the ground.
© UTV News