An armed intruder who hacked off part of a man’s finger before it was flushed down a toilet was jailed on Monday.
Stephen Gilmartin barged his way into the home of James Grieve with a homemade weapon and began repeatedly striking him with it.
Advocate depute Pino Di Emidio told the High Court in Edinburgh that the pole-like weapon had a blade taped to the end and was described as “an old-fashioned lopper”.
A judge told Gilmartin: “You pled guilty to an offence involving a very serious assault perpetrated by the use of a wicked and extremely frightening weapon.”
Lord Turnbull said: “The assault resulted in the severe injury, permanent disfigurement and permanent impairment of your victim.”
He told Gilmartin that in such circumstances very lengthy jail sentences can be appropriate.
But the judge said he felt able to restrict the sentence on Gilmartin because of his lack of previous serious and recent offending, the remorse he had expressed and the positive contribution he had made to society.
Lord Turnbull told him that he would have faced a five-year prison term but for his guilty plea.
Mr Di Emidio told the court that after entering Mr Grieve’s home Gilmartin (40) swung the weapon towards his victim and the blade struck him on the left side of the head.
“The victim put his arms up to defend himself before he was repeatedly struck on the head,” said Mr Di Emidio.
He curled into a ball on the floor of a bedroom at his home in Alexander Road, Glenrothes, in Fife, as the attack on him continued.
“The accused proceeded to strike him on the legs with the bladed instrument about 10 times. Throughout the attack the victim could be heard screaming and shouting,” said the prosecutor.
“After some time the accused realised that in the course of the assault he had sliced off part of the victim’s finger,” he said.
“The accused was then heard to shout ‘just grab it and flush it down the toilet’,” he said.
Mr Di Emidio told the court that while it was unclear who actually flushed the partially severed digit away, the accused Gilmartin instructed it to be done.
The court heard that on the day of the attack Mr Grieve (35) had been at home with Sara (Sara) Ferguson and she answered the door to find Gilmartin there with his partner Kimberley Petrie (30) and another man Scott West (41).
Father-of-three Gilmartin pushed his way into the house and shouted “where the f--- is he” before going upstairs and launching the attack.
Gilmartin originally faced a charge of attempting to murder Mr Grieve following the assault on April 12 this year.
But the Crown earlier amended the charge to one of assaulting him to his severe injury, permanent impairment and disfigurement by repeatedly striking him with the weapon and cutting off part of his finger and disposing of the severed part, which Gilmartin admitted.
Mr Di Emidio said that following the assault Mr Grieve asked for an ambulance to be called and Ms Ferguson wrapped his injured hand in a towel before running to a neighbour’s house to get the emergency services phoned.
The attack victim was taken to Kirkcaldy’s Victoria Hospital for treatment to his multiple wounds.
The prosecutor said one wound to his leg had exposed bone and he had three scalp cuts with the skull exposed below.
A nerve also had to be terminated following the partial amputation of his left little finger.
Police went to unemployed Gilmartin’s home in Bower Park, Gateside, Cupar, in Fife, and during a search found a bladed weapon in a bin bag next to a shed.
Mr Di Emidio said there had been “a general background of disagreements” between Petrie and Gilmartin’s friend West on the one hand and Mr Grieve and Ms Ferguson on the other.
Defence solicitor advocate Chris Fyffe said Gilmartin “deeply regrets his behaviour”.
“He is remorseful and acknowledges the seriousness of his actions and the seriousness of the injuries and the long-lasting effects of themHe does not have any convictions for anything approaching the seriousness of this,” said the defence lawyer.
Mr Fyffe argued that the offence was out of character for Gilmartin and “eloquent of an extreme loss of control”.