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Home Thanet News Article
A homophobic Margate man left a hammer embedded in the skull of his cross-dressing gay teenage flatmate, a court heard.
Joseph Williams, 21, is alleged to have battered 18-year-old Connor Huntley over the head as he slept at the two-bedroom apartment in Cliftonville.
Mr Huntley survived the life-threatening brain injury after an operation to remove the hammer, bone fragments and a blood clot.
The victim - who often wore women's clothes and make-up - had only moved to the flat a few hours earlier, the court heard.
Williams was from a Catholic background and had made "disparaging comments about gay people" in the past, jurors were told.
"I don't know how to say this, but he's dead in my flat. I hit him on the head with a hammer in his sleep..." - Joseph Williams in 999 call
Prosecutor Philip Bennetts QC told the Old Bailey: "They were not the obvious flatmates."
The pair had first met when Mr Huntley arrived at the flat in Athelstan Road at about 11am on May 27 last year.
Williams then returned to see his girlfriend while Mr Huntley and his friends spent the afternoon cleaning the property.
At around 5.10am the next day, Williams returned and sent a text to his girlfriend saying he had a good time with her, the court heard.
Forty minutes later he sent a series of text messages saying: 'Help', jurors heard.
When one of Mr Huntley's friends arrived at 10.30am, Williams told her Mr Huntley was asleep.
He then made a 999 call and told the operator: "I don't know how to say this, but he's dead in my flat. I hit him on the head with a hammer in his sleep."
Asked if there was a reason he had done it, he replied: "No, my mental health just deteriorated."
Police arrived to find Mr Huntley lying on an air bed with the hammer embedded in his skull.
Mr Bennetts said: "On the morning of 28 May last year the defendant attacked Mr Huntley with a hammer while Mr Huntley was asleep. There were at least two blows to his head.
"The hammer penetrated his skull and was embedded in his skull."
Mr Huntley had suffered a depressed skull fracture and traumatic brain injury, the court heard.
"The injuries were life-threatening at the time, but fortunately he survived," said Mr Bennetts.
An expert concluded the blows must have been inflicted with severe force, the court heard.
Williams made no comment in police interview, but now claims he was unable to form the intent to kill or cause serious bodily harm because of a depressive disorder.
Mr Huntley formerly lived in Dover and was a student at Archers Court School.
Williams denies attempted murder and causing grievous bodily harm with intent. The trial continues.
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