A BITTER fall-out on Facebook between two north Cumbrian men ended violently as one was subjected to a crowbar attack which left him with a fractured skull.

Ian Waugh, 45, used the same weapon to smash the victim’s Audi car's window and to put out his kitchen window, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

Waugh, formerly of Millriggs, Corby Hill, but recently living at Lockerbie, pleaded guilty to three counts of criminal damage and a wounding offence.

Olivia Beesley, prosecuting, said the defendant committed the first offence on November 10 last year. The victim was at his Raffles Avenue home in the city when he heard banging and smashing on his front door and the defendant shouting.

Waugh was heard to say: “You keyboard warrior; get out here, you coward.” When the man looked outside, he saw the defendant and his wife driving away. A window in the door was smashed and it hinges were loose.

A week later, at 11pm, the victim heard four “very loud bangs”, said the prosecutor. The man checked both the front and rear of his property, finding that a window had been smashed.

Arming himself with a metal pizza shovel, he returned to the front of the house and while there was “hit over the head several times” as the man and Waugh struggled.

A crow bar was later identified as the weapon used by the defendant. The victim suffered a fractured skull and a head wound so big it needed 12 medical staples to close it, the court heard.

The man spent 24 hours in hospital but did not need surgery.

In a victim statement, the injured man said the attack had left him suffering from multiple nightmares as he relived what happened on that evening.

The pain was such that he needed paracetamols to get through the day. “He is now very anxious about the defendant returning to his house in the future,” said Miss Beesley.

Jeff Smith, for Waugh, said: “This serious incident arose as a consequence of the abuse of that thoroughly unpleasant asset to our lives - Facebook.”

The victim’s online circle of friends included the defendant and his former partner, and that relationship broke down. “He began using Facebook to abuse Mr Waugh and his former partner,” said the lawyer.

When the defendant reported this, the police were not interested, said Mr Smith. So, the defendant then behaved “stupidly.”

Waugh and his partner had gone to the victim’s home and shouted abuse. A stranger also arrived at the defendant’s home and told him to go to the victim’s home, said Mr Smith.

The lawyer said the defendant had taken the crow-bar from the victim before using it to attack him – a version of events accepted by the judge.

Explaining the violence, Mr Smith said Waugh felt angry about what the victim had done on Facebook; and angry that someone was sent to his door and told him to go to the victim’s home.

The defendant also blamed the victim for two incidents when bottles filled with petrol were left on his doorstep – though there was no evidence linking the man to this.

Recorder Andrew Nuttall said it was sad that the defendant, a 45-year-old man with no previous convictions, had found himself before the court facing such charges.

The judge said: “Having read the pre-sentence report, I am satisfied that you understand that; and satisfied that you are ashamed; and satisfied from the pre-sentence report that you are remorseful about what has taken place.”

The defendant had spent five days in jail on remand and it was clear he had suffered, as he deserved to, said the Recorder.

The judge noted the impact on the victim – the nightmares he suffers and the time off work he needed; and how the offence was the result of a highly emotional dispute.

But the judge said he felt it was unlikely that the defendant would commit another offence, asking: “Is there is a realistic prospect of rehabilitation? Overwhelmingly there is.”

Recorder Nuttall imposed an 18-month jail term, suspended for 18 months.   Waugh must complete 150 hours of unpaid work and 25 rehabilitation activity days.

He must also pay compensation to the victim of £4,450, covering the damage to his car, door and house window.