A man who left his gay flatmate with brain damage after attacking him with a claw hammer has been jailed for 14 years.

Joseph Williams, 21, attacked 18-year-old Connor Huntley with a claw hammer as he slept, in the two bedroom flat they shared in Margate, Kent.

Mr Huntley miraculously survived the “life threatening” injuries, but was treated for a depressed skull fracture and traumatic brain injury.

Following an operation to remove the claw hammer from his skull, as well as bone fragments and a blood clot, Mr Huntley was left with brain damage.

Claw Hammer
Connor Huntley was hit at least twice with the claw hammer

Standing trial at the Old Bailey, Williams was found guilty of attempted murder and jailed for 14 years, including time in a secure psychiatric unit.

The court heard that Williams was from a Catholic background and had been known to make anti-gay remarks, while Mr Huntley was gay and often cross-dressed.

According to the Evening Standard, prosecutor Philip Bennetts said the attack was in part caused by Williams’ “views on homosexuality and Mr Huntley’s appearance and sexual orientation”.

He added: “Williams attacked Mr Huntley with a hammer as he slept.

“There were at least two blows with the hammer and the hammer remained embedded in Mr Huntley’s skull.

“To hit someone more than once with a hammer in their sleep hard enough for the hammer to be embedded in their head clearly demonstrates an intention to kill them.”

A statement from Mr Huntley’s family said: “Whilst Connor is making slow but steady progress from this horrific ordeal, we feel he has been handed his own life sentence by this hideous act.

“No one deserves to be so viciously attacked in such an evil manner, regardless of race, age, gender or sexuality.

“Whilst we are grateful for all your kind and meaningful get well wishes, as a family we would ask that you respect ours and Connor’s privacy at this horrendous point in our lives and allow us the time and space to concentrate on Connor’s physical and mental rehabilitation.”