Tunstall thug Martin Walton hit victim with metal chain in row over dogs
A THUG has been jailed for hitting a pedestrian with a metal dog chain before threatening him with a hammer as a child looked on.
Martin Walton launched the attack on dog-walker Morris Hill in Pinnox Street, Tunstall.
A dispute began when Walton's two Staffordshire bull terriers clashed with Mr Hill's dog, and the victim suffered a bite to his hand as he tried to break up the animals.
Father-of-seven Walton then struck Mr Hill across the forehead with a silver dog chain, leaving a bloody imprint of the chain's links on his skin.
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The 36-year-old then fled along with his dogs, which were not on leads, after a resident came to Mr Hill's aid.
Walton was later arrested and summoned to appear in court following the attack, which happened on September 4 last year.
However, Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard that on January 14 this year, the pair clashed again.
Walton, who was accompanying a child at the time, saw Mr Hill again walking down Pinnox Street as he drove past in his car.
Prosecutor Nicolas Berry told the court how Walton wound down the window of his car and shouted: "It's because of you I've got to go to court next week. You're dead."
When Mr Hill said he had called the police, who were on their way, Walton replied: "I'll burn your house down."
He then took out a hammer and continued to threaten Mr Hill.
Walton, of Gibson Street, Tunstall, has now been locked up for a year after being found guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm after a three-day trial.
The jury also found Walton guilty of intimidating a witness and being in possession of an offensive weapon.
He was acquitted of having a dog dangerously out of control after Judge Granville Styler said he could not be sure which of the dogs had bitten Mr Hill.
The judge told Walton: "It is a serious case when you intimidate someone who you know is going to be a witness against you, and intimidate him with a hammer.
"You will have to learn, as will other people in Stoke-on-Trent, that if you try to intimidate people who are going to be witnesses, there will be serious consequences."
Walton's defence barrister, David Pojar, had earlier pleaded with the judge to show leniency.
He said recovering drug addict Walton had got married just ten days before his clash with Morris, and he and his wife had a 19-month-old baby.
Mr Pojar said Walton's mother-in-law had recently been the victim of an assault, and she relied on Walton as the only qualified driver in the family.
"The two men weren't expecting to come across one another," Mr Pojar said.
"His temper got the better of him."
The barrister said Walton had been offered work, but the offer was dependent on the outcome of yesterday's court hearing.
He had also been placed on a methdone treatment programme.
Mr Pojar added: "All I can do is to invite the court to impose a sentence which is as short as possible."