A Stevenage man has been jailed for 4½ years after attacking his cousin with a hammer and leaving him in a critical condition.

Gary Cox, of Foxfield in the town, was living with his cousin when he struck him on the head with a hammer and caused him to fall down the stairs.

The 51-year-old man was taken to hospital in a critical condition after the attack, which took place at about 9.45pm on July 10. The victim remained in hospital for some time afterwards but has since been discharged.

Cox, 48, pleaded guilty to grievously bodily harm at a hearing on September 29 before receiving his prison sentence on Wednesday.

Det Con Jill Green from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit investigated the case.

After the sentencing, she said: “Gary and his victim had been involved in an on-going disagreement which escalated that day. This was a serious assault which caused the victim significant injury.

“Since the incident Mr Cox has shown remorse for his actions and was given credit and a reduced sentence by the judge for his early guilty plea.”