TWO brothers are facing lengthy prison sentences after a man was beaten almost to death with a hammer.

The victim suffered catastrophic head injuries when he was repeatedly battered by Paul Marshall at a flat in Stockton.

Marshall’s brother, Andrew, also assaulted the man and the tenant of the property in Yarm Road on September 2.

At a brief hearing at Teesside Crown Court today, 35-year-old Paul Marshall, of Greens Beck Road, Stockton, admitted attempted murder.

Andrew Marshall, 33, of Haward Walk, in nearby Billingham, pleaded guilty to two charges of inflicting grievous bodily harm.

The softly-spoken brothers were remanded in custody by Judge Simon Bourne-Arton, QC, and will be sentenced next Thursday.

The victim of the hammer attack was found in the blood-soaked kitchen of the flat, and suffered a fractured skull and brain injuries.

Subsequent life-saving surgery has left the man, in his 40s, with a huge chunk of his head missing.

Richard Wright, QC, for Andrew Marshall, told the court that he “has no relevant convictions at all”, but knows he will be going to prison.

Mr Wright did not apply for a pre-sentence report, and told Judge Bourne-Arton: “He understands that, in the circumstances, a custodial sentence is inevitable, so he doesn’t seek to use the resources of the Probation Service.”

Nicholas Lumley, QC, for Paul Marshall, said he has just one previous conviction for violence, and references have been written by others on his behalf.

He told the judge that a psychiatric report deals with reasons for the “deliberate attack” and added: “There is a good deal of history.”

Pathologists believe the victim was struck at least nine times with the hammer by Paul Marshall, and has no memory of the attack.

Andrew Marshall’s other victim, who suffered a fractured eye socket after being attacked twice, is understood to also have no recollection because of his level of intoxication.