A violent robber repeatedly hit a man over the head with a claw hammer in his own home as he made demands for money from him, a court was told.

Balaclava-clad Dale Edward Watson broke into the victim’s home in Trimdon Station, County Durham, on the evening of February 25, 2020.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that the intruder demanded money and continued to assault the man, throwing his television and an ornament at him, before the victim’s terrified partner told him there was money in a cup in the kitchen cupboard.

Watson then took £50 from a cup, plus items of jewellery worth £225, before smashing several more items as a parting shot as he fled the address.

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His victim was left with several wounds to his head and face and also had teeth knocked out which required dental treatment.

The scene of devastation underwent forensic examination as part of police inquiries into the attack.

DNA from blood found on a broken cup in the kitchen returned a match for Watson.

When interviewed he denied the offence, trying to explain the forensic evidence by saying he had previously argued with the victim at his home and had been assaulted.

The evidence did not support his claims, though, and he was subsequently charged with aggravated burglary.

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Watson, of Sunnyside Avenue, Shildon, denied the charge, but was found guilty of the offence as well as two counts of failing to surrender to court bail, following a trial at the court, in June.

Appearing back at court for sentence on Monday (August 7) the 30-year-old defendant, was sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment by Judge Robert Spragg.

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He was also sentenced to two months in prison for failing to surrender, but that will be served concurrently.

Speaking after the case, Detective Constable Michael Hutchinson, of Darlington CID, said: “This was a horrific attack on a man in his own home and one that Watson tried to deny.

“We hope this sentence gives the victim some peace of mind and acts as a warning that we will continue to pursue anyone who thinks this type of behaviour is acceptable.”