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Claw Hammer Attacker Jailed For 15 Years
A man who left a hammer embedded in a young rugby star's skull during a late-night attack has been jailed for 15 years.
Kris Bradley, 23, will serve a further three years on licence after being found guilty of attempted murder.
His victim, Matthew Probert, was on the brink of playing professionally before the attack in Lincoln city centre in the early hours of September 1 last year.
Judge Melbourne Inman QC told Bradley: "Your intention was terrible.
"In my experience, it was a singular attack without warning in which you hit him so hard the claws of the hammer penetrated to their full depth through the front of the skull and embedded in his brain."
Mr Probert, a prop with Scunthorpe Rugby Union Club, is said to have made "a remarkable recovery" but has been robbed of any immediate career in rugby.
The judge said doormen from nearby nightclubs and later paramedics "sensibly" did not try to dislodge the hammer.
Instead it was removed later by neurosurgeons.
The judge said: "His life was saved. It is quite clear from the evidence of the neurosurgeon that had the hammer penetrated an inch higher or lower it would have had, at the very least, a catastrophic effect on Mr Probert's ability to lead a full life.
"It is remarkable that Mr Probert did not die, and further that he has made such a recovery that has allowed him to recover a good part of his life prior to the attack."
Bradley, of Kent Street in Lincoln, will also serve a six-month term concurrently for knocking unconscious a man during a separate attack outside a kebab shop in Great Yarmouth on February 27 last year.
Also sentenced was Alex Taylor, 22, of Eastbourne Street, Lincoln, who admitted encouraging or assisting Bradley in the attack.
He was given a 16-month sentence for what the judge called "keeping watch".
A third man, 23-year-old Daniel Burrell, of St Nicholas Street, Lincoln, was found guilty of encouraging or assisting in the commission of an offence of grievous bodily harm with intent.
He got four-and-a-half years after driving into the city following a phone message from Bradley asking for help.
Burrell had kept the hammer in his car.
The attack followed an altercation in Lincoln's Walkabout bar during which Bradley was slapped by Mr Probert.
Speaking after the hearing, the victim's father, Mark Probert, said the family were "extremely satisfied" with all the sentences.