A Newtown man has been jailed for attacking his victim with a hammer or spanner over a dispute about his girlfriend's drug debts worth hundreds of pounds.

Ashley Cunliffe, aged 35, swung the metal tool across Richard Gwynne's head leaving him with "nasty" injuries when he confronted him at his home in Newtown town centre on January 12 this year after fighting over text messages.

Mr Gwynne had already paid Cunliffe a £220 drug debt accrued by his girlfriend, who then claimed he owed a further £180 which he also paid.

Mold Crown Court was told that on the day of the attack, at around 6pm, Mr Gwynne received a phone call from Cunliffe who told him he owed another £100.


The pair argued, before Mr Gwynne invited him over to his home in Wesley Street near Argos.

Cunliffe arrived 20 minutes later and started loudly shouting and banging the door.

Mr Gwynne opened the door before Cunliffe swung his arm with a hammer or spanner which injured his right eyebrow and temple.

The shocked victim stumbled before calling the police, but Cunliffe had already fled.

The actual weapon used in the attack has not been recovered, the court heard on Thursday, March 28.

Cunliffe has 29 previous convictions for 39 criminal offences which include five for assaults against people between 2011 and 2018.

Defence barrister Philip Tully said Cunliffe accepted that he was facing an immediate custodial sentence for actual bodily harm which he had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing in February.

County Times: The attack happened at the victim's home in Wesley Street, Newtown.The attack happened at the victim's home in Wesley Street, Newtown. (Image: Google Street View)


"This was set against a background where there was a dispute between the complainant who threatened Mr Cunliffe and invited him to the address,” the barrister said.

"What’s absolutely clear is that he accepts going round to the complainant’s address and assaulting him was wholly wrong. Thankfully the complainant did not suffer serious and long-lasting injuries.

"Through me he does express his genuine remorse. There is a different side to him. He is not in good health and has been suffering seizures for some time.

"He is highly thought of by friends and family. Hopefully going forward there is an offer of employment upon release. He is a man who is capable of leading a structured life and he tells me he is struggling with issues of mental health and the seizures he’s experiencing and wishes to be released from custody as soon as possible to sort his life out.

"He accepts it was wrong and it will be a custodial sentence."

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His Honour Judge Rhys Rowlands told Cunliffe, of Ceiriog, Treowen, that the attack was so serious that only a 12-month sentence could be justified.

"There was a different side to your character on this particular night," he said.

"It's ultimately a matter for you whether you continue to get in trouble or you now grow up and start behaving and stay out of the court."

Cunliffe, who appeared in court via video link from HMP Berwyn wearing a sling on his left arm, was told that he will serve half the 12-month sentence in prison with the remainder on licence in the community.