Christian man Joseph Williams jailed for attacking gay flatmate Connor Huntley with claw hammer as he slept

Mr Huntley was found with a hammer embedded into skull

A man who attacked his openly gay flatmate by striking him on the head with a claw hammer as he slept has been found guilty of attempted murder.

Joseph Williams, 21, inflicted "life-changing" head injuries on Connor Huntley while he slept in their shared flat in Margate, Kent, in May last year. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

After hitting Mr Huntley, Williams told a 999 operator what he had done, saying his mental health had "deteriorated", the Old Bailey heard.

The court heard that Williams came from a Catholic background and a few months before had made disparaging remarks about gay men.

In contrast, Mr Huntley was openly gay and often wore women's clothes and make-up.

Kent Police went to the flat in Athelstan Road, Cliftonville, and found Mr Huntley on a blood-splattered inflatable air bed still alive but with the claw hammer firmly embedded in his head.

An x-ray of Mr Huntley's skull after he was attacked with a claw hammer

Mr Huntley, who was 18 at the time, was taken to hospital where he was treated for a depressed skull fracture and a penetrating brain injury. A chunk of his skull was removed following the homophobic attack. He now suffers from epilepsy and his body movement has been affected,  prosecutor Philip Bennetts QC told the court.

Sentencing, judge Jeremy Donne QC told Williams the injuries suffered by Mr Huntley “were little short of catastrophic”.

"It is fortunate in the extreme for both him as for you that he did not die,” he said. "He will be never be able to enjoy all the things that young people enjoy doing. You have taken away a good part of his life."

Williams will serve his sentence in a high security hospital until he is deemed fit to leave after the court found that he had been suffering mental health issues at the time of the attack.

Mr Huntley's family said in a statement: "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."

Additional reporting by PA