A HELENSBURGH thug who repeatedly struck a man on the head and body with a hammer in an unprovoked attack in a street in the town left his victim permanently disfigured.

George Murray was jailed for almost three years for the vicious and sustained attack – which his solicitor described as “an over-reaction”.

Murray admitted repeatedly striking his victim on the head and body with the weapon, leaving the other man badly hurt.

In court it emerged that the 39-year-old had previous convictions for assault prior to carrying out the attack near his home in Buchanan Road in the Kirkmichael area on February 17 last year.

It was also revealed that Murray had been released from Dumbarton Sheriff Court on bail four months before the vicious assault – and that he was still on bail, and thus duty bound not to commit any further criminal offences, when he attacked his victim.

A previous court hearing was told the assault happened after Murray’s victim went to his attacker’s home hoping to use his microwave oven to heat up a meal.

The man saw 41-year-old Murray walking down the path in Buchanan Road towards him and had his hands in his hoodie when suddenly Murray produced a hammer and struck the man to his head and arm.

He stated: “George, I’ve not done anything. I’ve not done anything.”

Murray’s victim was treated at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley and found to have 4cm and 3cm lacerations to his face and a 1cm laceration to his arm. He received 13 stitches in total.

Murray returned to court for sentence last week – and even his solicitor admitted that prison might be the only way of punishing his client.

Defence lawyer Tom Brown said: “He is a single man. He appreciates this is a serious matter involving a weapon.

“He felt he had been accused of housebreaking and that the false allegations were besmirching his family.

“He came out of his house at the same time as another person was going towards his.

“It was perfectly innocent, but that was not what Mr Murray thought at the time. He suffers from paranoia. He is not suggesting in any way this person was going to do him any harm.

“He regrets behaving in the way he did. It was an over reaction. He was fearful and paranoid.

“He has previous convictions, and his last was for an assault, which will be of concern to the court.

“He was also convicted of an assault and robbery in 1998, which will be taken into account.

“He is in a position to carry out a community payback order. But he realises it is a serious matter and it may be the case that the only way this can be dealt with is by way of a custodial sentence.”

Jailing Murray for 35 months, Sheriff Simon Pender told him: “As accepted by your solicitor, this is a serious matter and an assault with a hammer which left your victim with serious injuries and permanently disfigured.

“You were on bail at the time and you have previous convictions for assault. You have a bad record and custody is the only option open to me.”

Murray’s plea of not guilty to a further charge, alleging that he threw a mobile phone from a window at his home in an attempt to destroy it, and evidence it might have contained in connection with the hammer attack, was accepted by the Crown.

“I will reduce the sentence to one of 35 months from 39 months because of your early plea.”

Murray denied throwing a mobile telephone from a window of his home on February 18, 2017, in an attempt to destroy it and evidence that may lead to the detection of the hammer attack. His not guilty plea was accepted by the Crown.