Man jailed for hammer attack - Bedford

02/12/2014

An eight-year grudge led to an unprovoked hammer attack in the centre of Bedford, a court heard today, Tuesday, 02 December 2014.

Adrian McWilliams, aged 35, struck Lewis Araniello on the back of the head as he walked to the town's station after they had a chance meeting.

The reason for the attack may have been that McWilliams believed Mr Araniello had been responsible for the burglary of an ex-girlfriend, Luton Crown Court was told.

Prosecutor Will Noble said the two men bumped into each other in Bedford town centre in the afternoon on 25 July this year and became involved in a conversation. Mr Araniello walked off towards the station when he heard the prosthetic leg of McWilliams and realised he was following him.

McWilliams produced the hammer, which he said he had picked up from the street where a man was working on a car, and struck him on the back of the head. It caused a 4cm cut to his scalp, which was glued and needed 5 or 6 stitches. He had significant bruising to the scalp and right side of the head. He also struck him on the arm.

Mr Noble said that but for the grace of God the injuries could have been worse. He said it had a psychological effect on the victim, who had lost his confidence in going out.

McWilliams, of Shakespeare Road, Bedford, appeared via video link from Woodhill Prison in Milton Keynes. He pleaded guilty to wounding Mr Araniello with intent on 25 July this year. He had 15 previous convictions for 27 offences.

David Smithet, defending, said it had been a chance meeting in Bedford. He said McWilliams, whose right leg was amputated below the knee after a gun accident when he was 16, had held a grudge against the victim for over 8 years. He said McWilliams had been spending £80 a day on heroin, but had taken steps to deal with his habit. "He told the probation officer he shouldn't have did what he did and he is sorry. He should have dealt with the ill-feeling in another way," he said.

Recorder Ian Gatt QC told him: "An attack of this nature with a weapon could have resulted in a serious long term brain injury." He said he regarded McWilliams as a dangerous offender as this was his third violent offence. He passed a 4 year jail term with an extended sentence of a further 2 years, which means he will be liable to be recalled to prison at any time within the next 6 years.

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