A violent thug battered a neighbour around the head with a hammer after accusing him of stealing his electricity while threatening to ‘f****** kill’ him.

Daniel Naismith knocked on his victim’s door and launched the brutal onslaught within moments of the grandfather opening it and letting him into his flat.

The man suffered serious injuries, including two to his head which went down to the bone, as a result of the vicious assault on New Year’s Eve last year.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 46-year-old had a history of serious violence on his record, including a previous attack with a hammer, and was branded a dangerous offender.

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Jenny Haigh, prosecuting, said Naismith brutally attacked neighbour with the hammer and continued the assault after he knocked the man to the ground.

She said: “Whilst he was on the ground, the defendant continued to assault him saying – “I’m going to f****** kill you”.

“The assault lasted for about two to three minutes. When the defendant left, the victim called his brother and then the police.”

Paramedics glued the man’s wounds after cleaning them before the victim refused to attend hospital for treatment.

The Northern Echo: Daniel NaismithDaniel Naismith (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Naismith, of Coxwold Drive, Darlington, pleaded guilty to wounding with intent following the hammer attack.

In 2013, the defendant was jailed for attacking a motorist after smashing his car up with a claw hammer. He was out on licence at the time after stabbing to bar workers following a row caused by his erratic behaviour.

Sam Faulks, mitigating, accepted his client did have a significant history for violent offences but urged the judge not to sentence him as a dangerous offender.

“Thankfully, there but for the grace of god, hospital treatment was not needed – continuing hospital treatment was not needed.

“We could have been dealing with brain death or death, thankfully, we are not dealing with that in this case,” he said.

“He accepts the way he reacted to his neighbour was highly excessive and disproportionate.”

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Judge Jonathan Carroll branded Naismith a dangerous offender as he sentenced him to three years and four months in custody with an extended five-year licence period.

“You had become fixated on the perception that your electricity was being stolen, you immediately confronted your neighbour about that and you struck repeated blows to his head – three to five times – with a hammer.

“When he fell to the floor you continued your assault against him,” he said.

“It is but for chance that more serious injuries or death was caused. What was caused was grave wounds.”