A NORTH Cumbrian man who "rammed" the blade end of a shovel into his uncle's face has been jailed for five and a half years.

John Park, 35, denied wrongdoing, claiming he used the shovel against his victim in self-defence. But after a trial at Carlisle Crown Court, a jury convicted him of intentionally causing farmer William Harrison grievous bodily harm.

During the trial, the jury heard a description of how Park carried out the attack on the doorstep of his uncle’s home at night, taking the victim by surprise.

Mr Harrison had gone to his front door at night after hearing his garden gate being opened. He also heard a tapping on his window.

But as he opened the door, the "blade end" of a shovel was thrust into his face, leaving a diagonal cut that narrowly missed his eye. The spade also chipped a tooth.

Mr Harrison immediately made a desperate attempt to protect himself from further injury, slamming the door on to the shovel's handle before becoming involved in a struggle with Park, with the two men falling over.

During this, the shovel’s handle broke.

Prosecutor Andrew Evans, when he opened the case, said the background to the violence was a schism between two parts of the family, which led to Park and his uncle rarely speaking.

It began, the court heard, in 2015 when the defendant’s sister was evicted from a house on the victim’s farm.

As he opened the case, the barrister described how the confrontation began on the evening of Monday, December 27, 2021.

The victim was sleeping on a chair at his home in a village west of Carlisle when he was woken by somebody outside, tapping on the window.

“He opened his front door and was instantly struck in the face," said the barrister.

"He recognised his nephew John ‘Ross’ Park standing there holding a shovel, and realised that item was used to hit him, the bladed part being forced into his face.

“He was able to close the door, on the shank of the shovel. The door opened again, and he fought for control of the weapon, and he recalls that both he and his assailant fell to the floor.

“The shovel snapped, leaving Mr Harrison holding the handle.

Mr Park threw the blade at him and walked off, and Mr Harrison recalled hearing a car starting and heading out of the village.”

Mr Evans told the jury: “This wasn’t self-preservation or self-defence. The prosecution say that this defendant’s actions were born out of anger.” That anger was the result of the family split, he said.

As he passed sentence, Judge Michael Fanning told the defendant it was only good fortune that the injury sustained by Mr Harrison was relatively minor, said the judge.

Park had gone to his uncle's farm to inflict violence and had used the shovel after finding it by chance in his uncle's farm yard.

"You went to your uncle's farm, knocked on the door and when he opened it you rammed the shovel blade into his face. This was an act calculated to cause serious injury."

The judge added: "He opened the door with no expectations; using a shovel blade on someone's face [makes it] a highly dangerous weapon." The offence was underpinned by Park's desire to settle the dispute with his uncle through violence.

"The courts can't allow people to do this," added the judge.

After the case, Detective Constable Karen Minnion, Cumberland CID, said: “This was a brutal and violent attack on a man who was in his own home late at night.

“The victim of the assault told police he thought the noises outside might be someone broken down who needed his help. Instead he opened the door to a man wielding the blade-end of a shovel towards his face.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the victim in this case for his courage throughout the process, which has taken almost two years but resulted in the sentence we see today.”