Man who tried to murder sleeping victim in Great Yarmouth was on licence for knifepoint robberies, court told
PUBLISHED: 14:52 26 August 2014 | UPDATED: 14:52 26 August 2014
A man who tried to murder a sleeping victim by striking his head with a metal bar is starting a long prison sentence today.
Clive Malone, 27, had been released from prison on licence after two knifepoint robberies when he crept into a Great Yarmouth home where two brothers were asleep, Norwich Crown Court heard.
He wore a mask when he attacked Russell Lambert, who was 55-years-old at the time, following a minor disagreement over the music played at a birthday party earlier that day, prosecutor Andrew Jackson said.
Mr Lambert was left severely brain damaged, paralysed and blind.
Malone had been living at a house of multiple occupancy in Paget Road, Yarmouth, and the attack was at a house in Albion Road, where Mr Lambert was asleep on a sofa in the living room, the court heard.
A jury found Malone guilty of attempted murder by a majority verdict of 10 to two today.
There were whispers of “yes!” from Mr Lambert’s family, sat in the public gallery, as the verdict was delivered.
Malone had already admitted to GBH with intent to Mr Lambert, attempted GBH with intent to Mr Lambert’s brother Tommy, 62, and aggravated burglary, taking Mr Lambert’s laptop that had been used to play music at the party on February 1 this year.
Judge Stephen Holt told Malone: “I regard this as one of the most serious offences.
“That poor man is still hanging between life and death.”
Prosecutor Mr Jackson said he would be pushing for a 30-year prison sentence, and Malone was told he faced a discretionary life sentence.
Malone replied “right”, and nodded towards the family of victim Mr Lambert as he was led down to the cells.
Mr Jackson said Malone had a long history of offending, from public order offences in his native Ireland, to possession of an offensive weapon in Worthing, Sussex in 2008 before being sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court in December 2011 for two robberies.
Malone had targeted two newsagents at night, holding an 18-inch knife to the throat of each worker, demanding cash and then destroying CCTV equipment, the court heard.
He had been sentenced to three and a half years in prison for the robbery offences, after entering late guilty pleas, but had been released from prison on licence when he tried to murder Mr Lambert.
The probation service is preparing a report on Malone’s level of dangerousness, and he will be sentenced for the Great Yarmouth offences at Norwich Crown Court on October 7.
In a statement Mr Lambert’s family said: “We are overwhelmed with the guilty verdict. We came here to seek justice and it has been delivered.
“Although this man [Malone] is going to prison his punishment is nothing which Russ has to bear. He has ruined Russ’s life completely and what he has done has had a devastating affect on the whole family.
“Russ was always the joker and the soul of the party.”
Malone had visited his victims, Patrick (known as Tommy) Lambert, aged 62, and his brother Russell Lambert, aged 55, earlier on Saturday, February 1 to celebrate Tommy’s birthday.
Russell, who normally lives in London, had made a surprise visit to Tommy and the brothers had used it as an excuse to hold an impromptu party inviting other friends and acquaintances.
A number of people had spent several hours with the brothers listening to music and drinking before Malone was seen getting into a minor argument with Russell about his laptop which they were using to play the music on.
This had not appeared to other party goers as an ongoing disagreement although Malone was later thought to have said he would be offering a laptop for sale the following day.
However, at around 8.45pm that evening, Malone and another acquaintance were seen walking towards Albion Road with Malone wearing a hat and scarf across his face.
Malone entered the victim’s address alone and attacked both the brothers, who were asleep on separate sofas in the living room, before stealing Russell’s laptop and leaving.
Having left the brothers with injuries to their heads and bodies, Malone then offered the laptop for sale to a number of people that afternoon and evening and continued with his normal life.
The brothers, however, were found the next morning by a friend with injuries so severe that an ambulance was called.
Tommy had a gash to the top of his head, heavy bruising and cuts to his hand.
Russell remains in a poor condition in hospital with significant brain damage, paralysis and loss of sight.
During interview Malone claimed he did not recall returning to Tommy’s home and attacking them despite being positively identified wearing the scarf and hat by Tommy and blood from Russell being found on clothing Malone was known to be wearing at the time.
At court Malone admitted taking an iron bar to the property in Albion Road which was used during the assault.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Durham, from Norfolk and Suffolk’s Major Investigation Team, who led the enquiry, welcomed the result saying: “This was an unprovoked and extremely violent attack on people Malone knew and had previously socialised with.
“Considering that the day had started out as a celebration of Tommy’s birthday, neither he nor Russell would have ever expected it to end so tragically.
“This result serves to remind people that Norfolk Police will always take swift and appropriate action against anyone who behaves in such an unacceptable manner.”