‘I wanted to smash his head until there was nothing left’ – enraged loner’s topless onslaught

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A HAMMER-wielding “loner” said he intended to kill a man in a bar by “smashing his head in until there was nothing left”, a court heard.

Thomas Phillips was so enraged after an altercation at The Oasis bar, in the Galleries shopping centre, Washington, that he went to a nearby Asda to buy a hammer.

But he got so frustrated with a self-service terminal in the store that wasn’t working, he punched the screen causing £200 damage.

He eventually returned to the bar shirtless to confront the man.

A judge jailed him for 16 months yesterday for having an offensive weapon and for a string of other offences.

Phillips was spotted entering the bar “bare-chested and shouting” on August 20 by a police sergeant, who stopped the 28-year-old in his tracks.

He admitted it was his intention to kill the man he had argued with, who was described as a martial arts fighter known only as ‘Terry’.

Bridie Smurthwaite, prosecuting, told Newcastle Crown Court: “In interview, he said he had been drinking for most of the day.

“He’d had an argument with someone in the pub.

“The man challenged him when he smashed a glass so he in turn went to Asda and tried to buy a hammer.

“The machine wasn’t working so he punched the screen causing it to smash.

“He then went back to the pub because he intended to ‘smash his head in’.

“He said he had an intention of killing the man and would have smashed his head in until there was nothing left.”

When the offence was committed, Phillips was on bail for arson, after he set fire to his dole papers and threw them into an abandoned office building in Washington.

Christopher Morrison, defending, said that Phillips lit the papers in “sheer frustration” after his benefits had been stopped for a fortnight.

He had been to the job centre on July 12 before igniting his paperwork and flinging it into the abandoned Derwent House building.

Fire crews were called to tackle the blaze, which caused £50-worth of smoke damage.

Mr Morrison said his client was a “loner” with an “empty lifestyle”.

In relation to the arson he said: “His domestic circumstances at the time were wholly desperate.

“He felt driven to do this because he was receiving benefits but his benefits were stopped for a fortnight just after he’d planned a chair in a barber’s shop.”

In relation to the weapon, Mr Morrison said: “He didn’t even get as far as making a threat with it.”

The court also heard that Phillips caused £50 damage when he wrote on a wall in the Galleries with blue pen on June 22 this year.

Phillips, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to two counts of damaging property, arson and having an offensive weapon.

Sentencing him, Judge John Milford QC said: “Whilst you were on bail you committed an offence of possessing an offensive weapon by going to Asda and obtaining a hammer that you intended to use offensively against someone you were at odds with at the time.

“Clearly that was a serious offence.”