Sheldon Thomas has been jailed for 10 years
Sheldon Thomas has been jailed for 10 years

TERRY Stevens’ shocked family looked on in horror at the ordinary household tool, which turned into a brutal weapon in the hands of Sheldon Thomas.

Thomas turned the claw end of the hammer on Terry, 51, as he walked home from The Windmill pub in Freshbrook in October last year.

Terry had 50 stitches in his face, surgery to repair three skull fractures, a broken cheekbone and pieces of his skull had to be removed from his brain.

Yesterday at Swindon Crown Court, Terry and his family were shown the weapon that almost killed the dad-of-five.

The Stevens family had earlier seen 27-year-old Thomas, of Holbein Court, Grange Park, sentenced to two 10-year sentences for robbing and causing grievous bodily harm, to run concurrently.

Sentencing him Recorder Jeremy Wright said Thomas had left his victim for dead.

He said: “You waited at a cash machine. It was late at night. Your victim came to the cash machine and drew out some money.

“You obviously saw that and you decided to rob him. You obtained a hammer. You followed that man until he was near his home and then you attacked him. The attack came from behind and it was a very serious and substantial attack.

Terry Stevens was left for dead
Terry Stevens was left for dead

“You left him for dead.

“You also disposed of evidence by throwing away the hammer.

“What you did was commit a very serious offence against a man who was a vulnerable victim.”

Thomas was convicted of the crimes last month. During the trial the court heard that he binged on cocaine after leaving Terry brain damaged and bleeding in the street.

His former friend Sam Brown gave evidence against him.

Mr Brown, of Oakham Close, Toothill, said the pair had been drinking and taking drugs together all day before Thomas staged the robbery.

Outside the court, Det Sgt Corin Dennison, who led the investigation, said Swindon was a safer place with Thomas behind bars.

“In 15 years on the force I have never seen an attack that ferocious,” he said.

“We were very lucky to catch him as quickly as we did.

“This was a good sentence for the people of Swindon.

“Part of the CCTV showed the outline of a van. That night we were driving round Freshbrook and Toothill looking for a similar van and found the one that was used.

“After tracking the van we became certain it was the one used on the night. The van led us to Sam Brown and Sam Brown led us to Sheldon Thomas and the hammer.

“The hammer was found in Bodiam Drive, where he had tried to dispose of it.”