A MAN who battered his former girlfriend’s friend with a piece of wood was sentenced to 18 months in prison yesterday.

Delroy Thomas, 32, pictured, of Hollow Way, Cowley, admitted the unlawful wounding of Russell Richards at the home of Victoria Curtis in Barns Road on May 24.

Judge Gordon Risius heard that Thomas had already been given a nine-month discharge for breaching a non-molestation order two days earlier, which said that he could not go within 25 metres of Miss Curtis’s Cowley home, at Oxford Crown Court.

Thomas was given 16 months for unlawful wounding and two months to be served consecutively for the breach of the order.

Judge Risius, the Honorary Recorder of Oxford, said: “You accept that you struck Mr Richards with the wood a number of times and accept that your use of force was excessive. “The Crown does not accept that Mr Richards was being violent towards Victoria.”

Thomas went to Miss Curtis’s home after hearing a scream from her flat following an evening of drinking at a pub.

The defence case argued that Thomas went to the flat because he believed Mr Richards was attacking Miss Curtis.

Thomas armed himself with a piece of wood and struck Mr Richards about five times, before Mr Richards got hold of the wood. After Thomas armed himself with a kitchen knife, he fled the flat. Mr Richards rang the police and was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital after the attack with two cuts to his head.

He needed to have 12 staples to his wounds. Stephen Parker, defending, said: “Thomas had been out drinking and was on his way to a house party when he heard a scream coming from where Miss Curtis lived.

“He understood an assault was taking place. He saw Mr Richards taking hold of Miss Curtis. “It was very much in the heat of the moment.”