A MAN with a history of violent offending lost control when he was made subject of homophobic taunts in the street, a court heard.

Maurice Michael Fraser returned to his home to collect a machete and then confronted one of two men who had verbally abused him.

Durham Crown Court was told he swung the weapon several times, striking the other man in the forehead, causing heavy bleeding, in the attack in mid-afternoon, on December 4 last year.

Sam Faulks, prosecuting, said following the attack Fraser returned to his home, but the victim and another man then threw items at the property, smashing a window, in retribution.

Distressed neighbours, who looked on from their homes, described the daylight clashes in Eldon Street, Ferryhill, as “stomach-turning”.

The court heard that a youngster was in the vicinity, while a family with a young child left a nearby property shortly before the attack.

Fraser was arrested at his home address but was in a confrontational and aggressive mood, damaging his cell at a police station.

The victim was treated in hospital accident and emergency for a laceration from just above an eye brow up into the scalp, suffering a broken bone in the skull area, but was later discharged.

Mr Faulks said Fraser has a several previous convictions for violence and was the subject of background reports by both the Probation Service and a psychiatrist, prior to the sentencing hearing.

The 30-year-old defendant, of Eldon Street, admitted wounding with intent, affray, possessing an offensive weapon in public and criminal damage to the cell.

Chris Morrison, in mitigation, said there was a background to the confrontation, stemming from previous incidents, in some of which Fraser, who is openly homosexual, had suffered homophobic abuse.

Mr Morrison said after one incident Fraser left Ferryhill, to go to live in Newcastle, “to diffuse the situation”, but since his return there has been further intimidation, even though Fraser has tried to avoid contact.

“He was acting on that day under ‘extreme provocation’,” added Mr Morrison.

Judge Jonathan Carroll told Fraser: “No matter how much provocation you had endured you utterly lost your self-control and carried out that attack with a machete.

“It wasn’t a single blow. You repeatedly struck out.”

As he ruled that Fraser poses a significant risk of causing serious harm, he imposed an eight-year and one month prison sentence, with a three-year licence extension.