'Drink-addled' hammer-wielding painter attacked terrified stranger in his own Leeds home

An "booze-addled" painter and decorator who attacked a man with a hammer in his own home after storming into the wrong house has avoided being locked up.
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Stephen Wood walked into the house in Crossgates looking for a colleague who failed to show up for work and then threatened the puzzled occupier, demanding to know where the workmate was.

Leeds Crown Court heard that it happened at around 2.30pm on July 23, 2022, just after the unsuspecting man had returned to his South View home from shopping.

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Letting himself into the property, Wood repeatedly demanded to know where his friend was, with the man insisting he did not know him.

Wood, 48, then said he was going to hit the man with a hammer, before swinging a bag he had in his hand towards him. The bag glanced the man but connected mainly with the staircase wall, leaving a two-inch hole.

Wood burst into the home on South View and swung the hammer at man who knew nothing of him. (library pics by Google Maps / National World)Wood burst into the home on South View and swung the hammer at man who knew nothing of him. (library pics by Google Maps / National World)
Wood burst into the home on South View and swung the hammer at man who knew nothing of him. (library pics by Google Maps / National World)

Wood then left saying he was going to “sort this out one way or another”. The stunned man put the chain on his back door before calling the police, but Wood returned and tried to gain entry again. With the man pushing back against the door, Wood smashed the door window before leaving again. He was later forensically identified by his blood left behind.

Wood, of Brooklands Towers, Seacroft, admitted affray but denied having either a hammer or bag with him. During a recent trial of issue, a judge determined that Wood was carrying both at the time, with the hammer inside the bag. Wood said his missing workmate had suffered drug problems in the past and was worried about him, which was why he burst into the home, thinking it was his.

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He has 19 previous convictions for 28 offences, with several for violence, including two for battery in 2010, a battery and common assault last year and three assaults on emergency workers also from last year.

Mitigating, John Batchelor said of Wood's involvement in the incident: "He respects the finding of the court. His alcohol-addled brain is such that he has demonstrated a clearly-fanciful explanation as to what happened that day. He offers his obvious apology."

He said that Wood had been sober for a month and was on blockers to treat his booze problems. Mr Batchelor added: "He has been dealing with a lot of alcohol issues that have caused so many problems. Most of his offending is drink-related. He has come with a bag today, prepared for prison, he is not unrealistic."

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Mr Batchelor said Wood had not worked since November to tackle his drink issues, but was hoping to get back within a few months.

The judge, Recorder Ahmed Iqbal KC, told Wood: "Committing these offences while drunk is not mitigation. You had a weapon in that bag."

He gave him 11 months' jail, suspended for two years, 150 hours of unpaid work and a nine-month alcohol-treatment requirement.

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