Thug who admitted Christmas Day hammer attack in Berkhamsted gets 13 years

James Lee Howes, 20, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to a man in Berkhamsted on Christmas Day.
James Lee Howes, 20, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to a man in Berkhamsted on Christmas Day.

A man who suffered life-changing injuries after he was attacked with a hammer on Christmas Day has seen his assailant sentenced to 13 years in jail.

James Lee Howes, 20, of Hilltop Road, Berkhamsted pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to the man in a row after an evening out.

Howes, who was 19 at the time of the crime, was sentenced at St Albans Crown Court on Tuesday.

The court heard how shortly after 2.30am on Christmas morning last year, he attacked the 34-year-old victim in the stairwell of a block of flats on Hilltop Avenue. The victim suffered serious facial injuries and was blinded in one eye.

Det Sgt Laurie Rush, who led the investigation, said: “This was a depraved and violent act on an innocent young man who made his way home after enjoying some Christmas celebrations with friends.

“The injuries he has sustained as a result of the actions of James Howes have been life changing. Every day he is reminded of the incident which has had devastating consequences on his life and the lives of his family and friends.

“The sentence passed today reflects the severity of the crime committed and sends out a clear message to those who commit such acts of violence on the streets of Hertfordshire – your actions will not be tolerated and you will be caught and dealt with.”