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MACE THE ACE JAILED FOR 3 YEARS; Darts champ in attack.

Byline: GEOFFREY LAKEMAN

DARTS champion Chris Mason was yesterday jailed for three years over a vicious hammer attack.

He and two friends rained blows on scaffolder Neil Harley and left him looking like "something out of a horror movie" after forcing their way into his home.

Judge Keith Cutler told Mason, 33: "You went into the house simply to join in the attack. The scene in that house must have been horrific - that's clear by the blood staining on the walls.

"You went over the top and punched the already severely bloodied Neil Harley when you didn't need to."

The ex-English Open Darts champ, dubbed Mace the Ace was jailed despite letters pleading for leniency from top players, including former world champion Keith Deller, and TV commentator Sid Waddell.

Mason and brothers Mark and Simon Gibson attacked Mr Harley in a row over a pet dog in April last year.

Mark Gibson, 35, gave a Yorkshire Terrier called Doris to ex-girlfriend Jayne Graham and her new fiance Mr Harley.

Gibson was upset when Mr Harley, 34, returned it after it became aggressive.

Armed with a baseball bat and two hammers the Gibson brothers drove to Mr Harley's house in Poole, Dorset, with Mason and forced their way in.

Mark Worsley, prosecuting, told the trial: "The trio rained blow after blow on Mr Harley's head and body, leaving the walls of his house splattered with blood and him a bleeding mess."

Mr Harley told Winchester crown court he thought he would die in the attack.

All three men had denied aggravated burglary but were found guilty in April.

The judge jailed Mark Gibson, of Basingstoke, Hants, for six years. His brother, 33, of Bournemouth, Dorset, got five.

Mason, from Hendon, North London, claimed he only grappled with Mr Harley to try and stop the fight.

CAPTION(S):

GUILTY: Chris Mason on the oche
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 3, 2003
Words:312
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