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Martial arts expert back behind bars after knife attack on soldier
4:22pm Tuesday 2nd October 2012 in News
A MAN jailed for killing another martial arts expert at a party was back behind bars last night for a knife attack on a soldier.
Liam Hall, 24, clashed with 20-year-old squaddie Paul Gray at a house in Chilton, County Durham, late on May 14 this year.
The confrontation almost led to Mr Gray losing a thumb and left him fearing for his future in the army, a court heard yesterday.
Hall, of Honister Place, in nearby Newton Aycliffe, was jailed for 21 months after he admitted a charge of unlawful wounding.
Teesside Crown Court heard that he got two-and-a-half years in 2010 for the manslaughter of Neil Jones the previous year.
Mr Jones was punched in the head and kicked as he was falling to the floor, where he remained unconscious and later died.
Hall was said to have been sober when he arrived the house where others had been drinking vodka and smoking cannabis.
The argument is said to have been started over missing drugs, and cage-fighter Hall reacted “instinctively” by lashing out.
He later told police: "What I am training for is to knock people out, to get on top of them and to smash people's heads in."
The court heard that both men had martial arts backgrounds, and Judge Peter Fox, QC, said he was concerned about the training methods.
Yesterday, the court heard how Hall confronted Mr Gray at the house he was looking after in Raby Terrace, Chilton.
The victim is said to have gone there looking for the householder, but Hall's barrister, Christopher Morrison, said he was uninvited.
It was agreed that the attacker had a wrong “drunken perception” of danger after “getting wrecked” on drink and drugs.
Mr Gray suffered two small cuts to his left hand and two deep ones to his right hand – one which severed the tendons in his thumb.
In a statement, he said he had suffered nightmares and had – now unfounded – fears he would not be able to serve in Afghanistan.
Judge Tony Briggs told Hall: “You might well have ended up facing a more serious charge than the one you admitted.
“Looking at your record, it is clear you have difficulty controlling your temper and that's made worse when you take a lot of drink and drugs.
“It is perfectly plain your perception was very much affected and when these matters are in combination, it can be highly dangerous.”
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