A Belfast man who lured his male victim to a house party by a bogus text message before stabbing him in the back has been jailed for three years.
Belfast Crown Court heard how Conor Bradley (23) was one of two males who attacked the man in September 2011 in north Belfast.
A bench warrant was issued for his co-accused Fergal Anthony Deeney (21), of Antrim Road, Belfast who failed to appear in the dock for sentencing.
Crown lawyer Rosemary Walsh said the victim was at home when he received a text message from friend James Crawford saying he was having a house party.
But the court heard Bradley and Deeney had taken the phone from Mr Crawford who was unaware that the text had been sent.
The victim and his girlfriend went to the drink-fuelled house party at Cliftonville Avenue but when they arrived they heard someone shouting: “That’s him now.’’
The victim told police that Bradley, of Iveagh Street, Belfast, and Deeney came to the front door and he was punched in the face.
Judge Gordon Kerr QC heard that the Bradley and Deeney then chased the victim down the street before he fell to the ground.
“Deeney, who was not wearing a top, hit him with a hammer. Bradley shouted: “I am going to stab you.’’
The victim felt a pain in his back and at first thought it had been caused by the hammer blow, the judge was told.
“He had in fact been stabbed in the back,’’ said the Crown lawyer. The victim was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital’s accident and emergency department where he was treated for a punctured lung, a fractured rib and bruising to his face and body.
Police were called and Bradley was arrested at the house party hiding under the stairwell with his girlfriend Caoimhe Morgan.
Deeney was also arrested dressed only in a pair of boxer shorts. Police found clothing in the washing machine and reported a strong smell of shower gel from the bathroom.
Bradley, Morgan, Deeney and another female were arrested by police on suspicion of attempted murder.
However, the female was later released without charge as police were satisfied she was not involved in the attack.
The court was told that Morgan (22), of Kinnaird Terrace, Belfast, became aggressive in the landrover, tried to kick a female police officer and also threw a fire extinguisher at her but missed.
The Crown lawyer said a search was carried out at the house party and crime scene investigators recovered a hammer in a kitchen drawer and a knife on a windowsill.
Tests on the weapons matched the DNA of the victim.
Morgan, who now has a nine-month old child to Bradley, pleaded guilty to assault on police and was given a three month prison sentence suspended for two years.
Bradley, who suffers from a low IQ and ADHT, pleaded guilty to possession of an offensive weapon in a public place, grievous bodily harm with intent, common assault and assault on police.
Judge Kerr QC said the victim had suffered “serious injury’’ during the attack and has suffered ever since through anxiety and being unable to sleep properly.
He sentenced Bradley to a total of six-and-a-half years with three years to be spent in custody and a further 30 months on licence.