A man who carried out a drink and drug-fuelled attack on an ex-serviceman in his own home at night was jailed for a total of eight years and eight months.

Paul Falconer, 43, of Cedar Crescent, Murton, was said to have been accompanied by a woman, when he called at the home of a 76-year-old former serviceman at 1am on September 9.

Durham Crown Court heard that having barged in when the householder went to the door, Falconer forced him into a chair in the living room, assaulted him and made demands for money.

Dr Chris Wood said the defendant punched the pensioner in the face several times, stamped on his arm, threatened to slit his throat with a kitchen knife and hit him over the head with a briefcase, causing an injury to the crown of his scalp.

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When asked where the money was, Falconer was directed to the man’s wallet, from which he removed £300 and three bank cards.

He demanded the PIN for each, but, unknown to him, he was given false numbers.

Dr Wood said the defendant and his female accomplice were continually “rummaging around” the property and he took a further £140 from a carrier bag, plus a watch, a mobile phone and the victim’s car keys.

Falconer and his accomplice left, threatening the victim that there would be repercussions if he reported the incident to police.

Dr Wood said within ten minutes of leaving the house the defendant went down the road to a cash machine and tried, unsuccessfully, to use the stolen bank cards.

The injured and shaken victim went next door asking for help and an ambulance was called, while police were also informed of the incident.

Dr Wood said the victim’s injuries included multiple bruising and swellings to his face, hands and arms, while one eye could not be opened, and he was also treated for a gash to the back of the head.

In his impact statement the victim said he felt “terrible” due to his physical injuries and traumatised by his prolonged ordeal.

Dr Wood said the victim became very distressed at what took place and struggled to sleep in the aftermath, while he has decided to leave his home and does not want to keep any of the furnishings, which remind him of the incident.

The victim was able to successfully identify his assailant to police.

Falconer, who refused to name the female accomplice, went on to admit charges of robbery, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, threatening a person with a knife in private property and fraud, for the unsuccessful bid to use the stolen bank cards.

Mark Styles, in mitigation said the defendant has only three previous convictions and described events that night as, “completely out of character”.

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Mr Styles said following incidents in his childhood, which he bottled up, the defendant was an early user of cannabis and later heroin.

He described the circumstances of the unplanned attack as, “highly unusual” and conceded that the defendant, “clearly went too far”.

But Judge James Adkin said it appears there was some late planning behind an attack on, “a vulnerable man” in his own home.

He said there were almost elements of sadism involved in the attack, which was indicative of the potent mix of drink and valium and the level of intoxication of the defendant.

Judge Adkin told Falconer that his sentence would have been one of 13 years had he not pleaded guilty.

He also put in place a lifetime restraining order prohibiting Falconer from ever contacting or approaching the victim.

The judge warned him if he breached the order at some stage after his release he would be returned to custody to serve the unserved half of the sentence.

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