Northern Ireland

Man jailed for year for hammer attack at party

A 24-year-old man has been sent to prison for a hammer attack at a house party in Belfast.

Darren Sloan, 24, of Durham House, College Square, Belfast, was sentenced to a year in jail for beating a man with a hammer.

It happened at a party in Dunluce Avenue, Belfast, on 9 March 2011.

The court heard that his victim had beaten Sloan in an arm-wrestling competition prior to the attack.

A prosecution lawyer told Belfast Crown Court that Sloan used a claw hammer to hit his victim on the back of the head.

He suffered bruising and swelling to his head and neck.

Sloan originally denied the attack but later pleaded guilty to a charge of assault causing actual bodily harm.

His defence lawyer said his client accepted that he had caused the injuries, but denied attacking him with the claw hammer.

Judge Corinne Philpott QC told Sloan: "You can't assault people just because you have had a few drinks and you don't like them, or they have beaten you in an arm-wrestling game."

She said she would have expected more serious injuries to have been sustained in the hammer attack - had more force been used, he may have been facing an attempted murder charge, she said.

Sloan, who has 36 criminal convictions, will serve a further 18 months on licence, following his release from prison.