A businessman thought he would die when two men burst into his Bradford office and beat him with a hammer in a savage St Valentine's Day attack.

Demolition contractor Bill Reidy told Bradford Crown Court that he used pieces of office furniture in a desperate bid to fend off the blows.

And he said that as the onslaught continued he heard the men say: "It will teach you to pay your debts, you bastard."

Mr Reidy said: "It was a one-sided fight. I thought I was going to die.''

The attack - two years ago - ended suddenly when someone shouted 'The police are here' and the men ran off.

Mr Reidy told the jury that he then collapsed and was taken to hospital with both arms broken, a suspected fractured skull, rib injuries and dozens of cuts to his head.

He was in hospital for about 10 days, in a wheelchair for several weeks after that, and was unable to work for nine months.

Warren Nicholson, 24, of Westmoreland Road, West End, Newcastle, has pleaded not guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Colin Harvey, prosecuting, said that Nicholson was one of three men involved in the attack at Mr Reidy's premises off Leeds Road, Bradford.

"This man was part of a team who deliberately travelled down from the north east to inflict physical damage on Mr Reidy," he said.

"It was wholly unlawful, uncalled for and savage.''

The court heard that Mr Reidy was in the office with two employees when the men burst in. One of them ordered the employees into a side room while the others attacked Mr Reidy.

Mr Harvey said: "Purely by chance, his son-in-law phoned the premises during the attack and in the struggle the phone was knocked over.

"He could hear screams and smashing noises, indicating something terrible was happening to his father-in-law."

He immediately rang 999. Again, purely by chance, two patrol officers were just around the corner from the premises.

"They broke in and found Mr Reidy staggering from the office, covered in blood. Inside were three men and the officers managed to arrest one of them after a struggle.

"The other two managed to make their escape, but were seen running to a white BMW car. They jumped into the car and it sped away, pursued by one of the officers."

The car was abandoned a short distance away and inside it were a jacket covered in Mr Reidy's blood and a newspaper with a fingerprint on it.

The arrested man was found to be Nicholson's brother, Paul, who has since been dealt with by the Crown Court.

There was scientific evidence to link Warren Nicholson to the crime, said Mr Harvey

Police arrested Warren Nicholson at his home ten days later He was bailed to report back to the police, but then vanished.

It was only in June last year that he was tracked down, working on the Jubilee Line extension in London.

The trial continues.

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