Catholic man who attacked gay flatmate with hammer found guilty of attempted murder

A Catholic man who attacked his gay flatmate with a claw hammer while he slept has been found guilty of attempted murder, reports Press Association.

Joseph Williams, 21, was sentenced to 14 years in prison at the Old Bailey yesterday for the "life-altering" injuries he inflicted on Connor Huntley at the flat they shared in Margate, Kent in May last year.

Huntley, who was 18 at the time of the attack, was openly gay and often wore women's clothing.

After attacking Huntley, Williams called 999 to report the attack, and said his mental health had "deteriorated".

The police arrived to find blood spattered on an air mattress where Huntley was lying, still alive, but with the hammer firmly lodged in his skull.

Williams came from a Catholic background and had made disparaging remarks about gay men before the attack.

Huntley was treated for a depressed skull fracture and a penetrating brain injury, and a portion of his skull had to be removed. He now suffers from epilepsy and his body movement has been affected, prosecutor Philip Bennetts QC told the court.

Sentencing, Judge Jeremy Donne QC told Williams the injuries suffered by Mr Huntley "were little short of catastrophic".

"It is fortunate in the extreme for both him as for you that he did not die," he said. "He will be never be able to enjoy all the things that young people enjoy doing. You have taken away a good part of his life."

As the court heard that he had been struggling with mental health issues at the time of the attack, Williams will serve his sentence in a high security hospital until he is deemed fit to leave.

Huntley's family said in a statement: "Whilst Connor is making slow but steady progress from this horrific ordeal, we feel he has been handed his own life sentence by this hideous act.

"No one deserves to be so viciously attacked in such an evil manner, regardless of race, age, gender or sexuality."