A FESTERING grudge boiled over in an outbreak of violence outside a village pub one night, a court heard.
Defendant Colin Powis believed his one-time friend was responsible for a robbery at his parents’ shop 30 years ago, an allegation denied by the accused man.
Durham Crown Court was told the accusation was put by Powis eight years ago, but the other man told him there was no truth in his claim.
But the issue still perturbed Powis and led to him attacking him on leaving the Black Bull pub, in Trimdon Station, late on August 25.
Victoria Lamballe, prosecuting, said Powis and another man went into the premises, where his former friend was drinking,
The presence of Powis and his companion made him feel uneasy, as he was concerned at the way they were looking at him, so, shortly after 11pm he left the pub.
He was followed by Powis, who approached him, saying: “Your friends can’t protect you now. You should have done time for robbery.”
As he tried to walk away, he felt a heavy blow to his face and fell to the ground, where he recalled Powis astride him landing further blows.
Miss Lamballe said other drinkers ran from the pub to intervene and Powis appeared to turn his attention on one of the peacemakers.
His original victim managed to get up and make his way back to the pub, suffering extensive bruising to the face and cuts to the lips, for which he sought hospital treatment the following day.
The 58-year-old defendant, of Horse Close Lane, Trimdon Station, was arrested and admitted assault causing actual bodily at a magistrates’ court hearing, in May.
Miss Lamballe said his guilty plea was on the basis he was “bad mouthed” by the complainant in the pub so they arranged to go outside for a fight, in which the other man came off worse.
A judge at a trial of issue found in favour of the prosecution version that Powis was the aggressor.
Jonathan Harley, in mitigation, said, given his lack of offences since 1979, it appears to be, “somewhat out of character”, adding that the defendant remains convinced the other man had, “wronged him in the past.”
Passing a ten-month prison sentence, Judge James Adkin said he could suspend it, for two years, given Powis’s virtual offence-free record.
But he ordered him to observe a nine-month 7pm to 7am home curfew, pay his victim £1,000 compensation and attend 20 probation-led rehabilitation days.
A restraining order was imposed, prohibiting Powis from contacting or approaching the other man, or going to the Black Bull pub, both for five years.