The row of drunkards ended with an ashtray on the New Year’s party

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A New Year’s party escalated into violence when two drenched friends got into a fight.

Raymond Rayton smashed his drinking buddy on the head with an ashtray after hitting him to the ground.

Teesside Crown Court learned of how the victim bit Rayton’s leg before he lost consciousness from the blow to the head.

Prosecutor Emma Atkinson said the victim evicted Rayton from his home because he was arguing before the accused returned and launched his attack on the man in his own home.

Rayton, of Hereford Street, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to unlawful injuries after threatening to “break his face”.

Stephen Constantine, in mitigation, said his client had shown “regret, remorse and contrition” since the incident late last year.

He said it was a “beer in, brains out” case because the attack occurred following a drunken argument.

Recorder David Gordon sentenced Rayton to nine months in prison, suspended for two years.

He said, “The victim, to protect himself, bit his leg, you picked up an ashtray and hit him on the head with that heavy instrument.

“Fortunately, the ashtray did not break, but it caused a very serious head injury.”

Rayton was also subject to a five-year restraining order and was ordered to attend a 30-day rehab activity requirement.

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