Winchester man jailed for six years for pickaxe handle attack

Basingstoke Gazette: The Law Courts, Winchester The Law Courts, Winchester

A WINCHESTER man has been jailed for six years for an unprovoked and sustained pickaxe handle attack on a man delivering a cake to his grandmother.

John Berry, 32, hit Thomas Appleton numerous times in a savage assault on a suburban street, Winchester Crown Court heard.

A doctor said it was surprising that Mr Appleton did not suffer a fractured skull in the attack in Moss Road, Winnall, on March 22.

Tom Wright, prosecuting, said Mr Appleton, 31, a mechanic, was taking a cake to his 76-year-old grannie at around 9am.

He reversed his car off the road onto her driveway and impeded a van driven by Berry, causing an exchange of words and gestures, said Mr Wright.

After delivering the cake Mr Appleton returned to his car to find Berry waiting for him with the pickaxe handle. After asking Appleton if he thought he was “hard” he struck him on the head with the handle.

Berry went on to hit him at least ten times on the left hand side of his body, “systematically working up the side of his body from the ankle to his head.”

Mr Wright said: “He went to the floor. He remembers hearing his 76-year-old grandmother screaming ‘stop’. Mr Appleton is not clear why Berry stopped. A car may have passed. Or the grandmother screaming for him to break off the assault.”

The victim was taken to the Royal Hampshire County Hospital and needed numerous stitches for a jagged wound on his scalp.

Mr Wright said the doctor said Mr Appleton was “incredibly lucky. He would not have been surprised by a fractured skull or inter-cranial bleed.”

On arrest Berry told the police: “I did hit him. I should have gone home.”

Berry, of Spitfire End, Winnall, admitted assault causing grievous bodily harm.

Jailing him, the Recorder of Winchester Judge Keith Cutler also told him to pay a £120 victim surcharge.

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