A takeaway boss was beaten almost to death with a hammer over an unpaid foodservice wholesaler’s bill and a missing Christmas gift, a court heard.
The Northern Echo, reporting from Teesside Crown Court, heard that Zheng Guan Lin, from Spennymoor, County Durham, had a heated telephone conversation with the proprietor of Wings takeaway in Stockton on 21 January.
Lin and his co defendants, Jian Zeng Lin and Jian Chuang Zhu, ran a business called iChina, supplying meat and vegetables items to restaurants, including Wings.
But the Wings boss had changed his supplier and had not been given his usual Christmas gift by them. There was also a suggestion he owed iChina for a delivery to the value of about £500.
The Northern Echo reports that prosecutor Shaun Dodds told the court: “At the end of that telephone call with Lin he was told: ‘Do you want to die? Just wait there’.”
The three men reportedly then arrived at Wings takeaway by car and burst inside, catching the proprietor in the kitchen.
While one defendant blocked the exit and another grabbed the victim by the hood of his sweatshirt, the court heard that Zheng Guan Lin suddenly produced a hammer, which was reportedly used to attack the victim, along with a number of kicks and punches.
The court heard that the attack damaged the victim’s left eye so badly, he underwent a corneal transplant and is still fighting to regain his sight.
In his victim personal statement, the victim said: “I was a self sufficient working man but my business is now closed because of the attack on me in January. We lived off our small savings but I am now reliant on my wife’s income.”
He added: “The attack was without provocation – they came to my workplace and attacked me. It has changed my life forever and I can never forgive these people.”
Zheng Guan Lin, 43, of Hawthorn Road, Spennymoor, admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
“You were the ringleader,” the judge told him, jailing him for 12 years.
Jian Zeng Lin, 41, of Bourne Morton Drive, Stockton, and Jian Chuang Zhu, 34, of Lever Street, Middlesbrough, both admitted section 20 wounding without intent. They were each jailed for three-and-a-half years.
Defence barristers had argued that it was an isolated attack, and that the trio had showed genuine remorse and shame and worked hard for their families and the Chinese community.