A VICIOUS claw hammer attacker has been jailed for four years.

Jason Smith, 24, of Handel Walk, Colchester, left Roger Munday scarred after the brutal assault.

He hit Mr Munday in the head from behind, then struck him six more times while he was on the ground.

A court heard Smith used the claw part of the hammer to tear open Mr Munday’s skin along his leg.

Mr Munday pretended to lose consciousness to bring the ordeal to an end, at which point his wallet was stolen.

Mr Munday, 35, spent two days in hospital and the wound to his left leg had to be stitched where the muscle was hanging out. He has been left with visible scars and still has shooting pains in that leg. The court also heard he has had nightmares and was anxious about going out at night. Smith had been due to face a trial accused of inflicting grevious bodily harm with intent, but changed his plea to guilty when he appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Judge Rodger Hayward Smith QC told Smith: “This was a very serious attack with a hammer and it has to be a substantial sentence.

“You had been drinking heavily and one of your problems has been drink.”

Nicola May, prosecuting, said Mr Munday and a friend had gone fishing and then visited a friend on August 15 last year.

They were on their way to Tesco at 1.30am and were in Standard Road, off Hythe Hill, when they passed Smith and his friend. They started talking and, at first, there were no problems. However, when Smith and the other man started behaving suspiciously around a car, Mr Munday said: “What are you doing? “You’re in the middle of the street.”

Miss May said Smith’s friend passed him a hammer and Smith said to Mr Munday he had three seconds to help or “he would get it”.

Miss May added: “Mr Munday didn’t want to be part of it, and for no reason he was struck a hard blow on the back of his head.”

A resident in Standard Road saw a man with a hammer standing over someone and called police, who then quickly arrived.

When police searched Smith, they found Mr Munday’s wallet, but he denied any knowledge of an attack.

Emma Nash, mitigating, said Smith had not armed himself with a weapon, it had been passed to him.

He initially denied it because he panicked. She said Smith had been drinking and using cannabis at that time, but had now given up both.