A VIOLENT offender launched a “sinister” assault on his 65-year-old employer who had given him work when he was released early from prison.

David Bradley and two accomplices were masked and carrying knives when they went to the man’s home at night and tried to rob him.

However, things did not go to plan and a fight broke out involving Bradley, his employer Alfred Cleary, and another man who had been visiting him.

Bradley, high on drink and drugs, not only failed in his robbery bid but police found him lying battered on the floor with head injuries that required 64 staples and saw him kept in hospital overnight.

Bradley, 39, who has lived in Dunfermline and more recently in Ballingry, appeared by video-link at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court.

He admitted that on May 15, at an address in Burntisland, whilst acting along with others and with their faces masked, assaulted Alfred Cleary, brandished a knife at him, demanded that he told him where money was, presented the knife at his throat, seized him by the head and struggled with him, all with intent to rob him.

Depute fiscal Jamie Hilland said the victim lived alone. He has a removals business and Bradley had worked with him two years earlier and had started working again for him just before the incident.

“The complainer had reached out to him because he knew about mental health issues in the past,” said the depute.

They had been together on the day of the attack. Mr Cleary picked him up in Ballingry, took him to a car auction and spoke to him about doing further work for him.

Mr Cleary went home and was visited by a couple he knew, who were going have a drink with him and camp in his garden overnight.

When the male visitor was out in the garden moving things from his car, he saw three men with masks on and carrying weapons which looked like Stanley knives.

One of them, who turned out to be Bradley, had shouted: “Where the f*** is Alfie Cleary?”, then entered the house.

The visitor hit one of the other men over the head with an extension cable and threw plant pots at them.

He then followed after Bradley into the house.

Mr Cleary was in the living room having a drink with his female guest when a masked man appeared, brandishing a knife and demanding: “Where’s your money?”

Mr Cleary thought it was “someone playing a joke” and pulled off the mask, revealing Bradley’s face.

He then asked Bradley: “What the f*** are you playing at?”

The woman ran from the room and phoned the police.

Mr Cleary grabbed the blade of the knife to prevent being stabbed. Bradley then put him a headlock, holding the knife against his neck.

The male visitor then knocked Bradley to the ground. Mr Cleary chased the other two out of the house before being tackled again by Bradley.

They were wrestling and the visitor again hit Bradley. His intervention resulted in all three falling to the ground, pulling down a curtain rail on top of them and Bradley hitting his head off a radiator.

Police arrived at 9.22pm and found the house in a state of disarray with Bradley still lying on the floor.

He was taken to hospital and was kept in overnight for treatment to have his wounds stapled.

Mr Cleary was treated by paramedics for superficial cuts, added the depute.

Defence solicitor Alexander Flett said: “They are known to each other and Mr Bradley worked for him on a casual basis.

“On this day, he had consumed alcohol and taken valium. He doesn’t know why on earth he involved himself in this. Things were not going very well for him since being released and he was finding it difficult to cope at liberty.

“He came off very much the worse in the incident and received significant injuries. He had 16 separate injuries, including 12 to his head, requiring 64 staples.

“Some vigour was used by the men in defending themselves.”

Sheriff Jamie Gilmour told Bradley: “This was an exceptionally sinister and alarming offence.”

He ordered Bradley to serve 15 months of his previous sentence and imposed a consecutive jail term of three years.

In 2019, Bradley was jailed after starting a fire deliberately in his home in Adamson Crescent, Dunfermline. He had to be rescued by the fire service and claimed he was trying to kill himself.