A man behaving in a drug-induced agitated fashion attacked his brother with a pick axe handle despite knowing his sibling was awaiting hospital surgery.

Cameron Finlayson delivered such a forceful blow to his brother Callum’s body with the makeshift weapon that a “massive crack” could be heard.

Durham Crown Court heard that the victim collapsed in great pain knowing immediately he had suffered fractures to his rib cage.

Annelise Haugstad, prosecuting, told the court that the next thing he could recall was waking in Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, where he spent the next three days being treated for four rib fractures and a punctured lung.

(Image: Durham Constabulary)

But the court heard that while lying unconscious, after the attack, he briefly stopped breathing and had to be given CPR by onlookers before an ambulance arrived.

Miss Haugstad told the court that while his brother was being treated at the scene, before being taken to hospital, the defendant, who had been punched in the mouth by his sibling during the confrontation, said: “Look at the state of me. I’m in a worse state than him.”

He was told to, "just go away” by members of his family who were, by then, present at the scene, outside their home in Perkinsville, near Chester-le-Street.

In his victim statement, given several days after his release from hospital, Callum Finlayson said he still suffered high pain levels, and merely breathing hurt, while he struggled to get out of bed and walk down the stairs.

He said he was fearful of going out in the aftermath of the attack, as he was worried he might bump into his brother.

The court was told that the brothers previously generally got on well, but in the lead-up to the incident, on April 8, the defendant was said to have been behaving, “like a different person”, and on the day appeared “agitated”, under the influence of drugs.

Miss Haugstad said earlier Callum Finlayson was summoned to try to calm his brother by his sister, as the defendant was arguing with her boyfriend.

He then travelled by bus with his brother from Stanley to their parent’s home in Perkinsville, but on the way, the defendant was racially abusive to another passenger.

Finlayson was said to have been behaving in a threatening manner, swinging the pick axe handle, outside his parents’ home, and, fearing he would be attacked, Callum punched his brother to the lips, drawing blood.

It was in response to that, that the defendant delivered the blow to his brother with the pick axe handle.

Finlayson, 28, of Charlotte Street, Stanley, admitting causing grievous bodily harm to his brother, plus other offences of affray and possessing an offensive weapon.

The court was told he has nine convictions for 13 offences, mostly also for violence.

(Image: Durham Constabulary)

But his counsel, Calum McNicholas, said those offences were nearly all committed as a youth, and he has only one conviction in recent years, for witness intimidation and racially-aggravated common assault, for which he received a suspended prison sentence in 2022.

Mr McNicholas said the defendant has been working full-time for four years as a landscape gardener and puts in long hours, sometimes six days a week.

He added: “He asks, through me, to communicate his apologies, and, if allowed, he will do so in a written note to his brother."

(Image: The Northern Echo)

Judge Jo Kidd said the defendant appeared to have had a “significant relapse” into drug misuse in the lead up to the offence, behaving in an unpredictable manner, which was disturbing for his family.

She told Finlayson: “It’s a small mercy your use of that pick axe handle didn’t cause more serious injury.

“If it had been used to his head, it could have proved fatal.

“You left your brother in agony and for a time he didn’t have a pulse and CPR had to be performed on him.

“The level of pain was very severe and you put him in jeopardy, against your background of offences of violence.”

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She imposed a 21-month prison sentence on Finlayson, telling him it would have been 28 months had he taken the matter to trial.

He indicated his guilty pleas through his lawyers last month, a fortnight after an initial court appearance in the case.

The judge also ordered forfeiture and destruction of the pick axe handle used in the attack.