TWO former public schoolboys who knocked a primary school teacher unconscious have walked free from court.

Teesside Crown Court heard how talented sportsmen Brett Upton and Daniel Potts were attending a charity event at the Morritt Arms, at Greta Bridge, near Barnard Castle, in June last year when trouble flared outside the hotel.

John Gillette, prosecuting, said an argument broke after 19-year-old Upton spat near the feet of a female guest.

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Another woman slapped Upton who responded by telling her “do it again you slag” and a fight broke out.

Mr Gillette said Upton was seen to get a male guest in a headlock. Potts, 20, then “hacked his feet away from under him”.

“They were both assaulting him at the same time,” added Mr Gillette.

This caused the victim to fall flat on his face and be knocked unconscious.

“Witnesses described Mr Upton and Mr Potts continue to kick out at him,” Mr Gillette said.

The man was taken to Darlington Memorial Hospital with bruises and a cut on his forehead which required eight stitches.

The court heard that the victim, a primary school teacher, continued to suffer headaches and poor concentration after the incident, and did not immediately return to work.

Both men, former Barnard Castle School pupils, texted the man after the attack apologising for causing the injuries and blaming their behaviour on too much alcohol.

They later voluntarily attended Barnard Castle police station.

Paul Newcombe, mitigating for Upton, said his client had no previous convictions and was a schoolboy at the time of the incident.

He added that Upton, of Eden Grove, Middridge, Newton Aycliffe, had captained his school cricket and rugby teams, and hoped to become an officer in the Royal Marines after studying business management at York University.

“He realises that he has made a mistake that may affect him for the rest of his life,” Mr Newcombe added.

Mark Styles, mitigating for Potts, said his client was a quiet and unassuming man, who was also a talented rugby player.

“He is not a violent person by nature and this is wholly out of character,” Mr Styles added.

The men pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding at an earlier hearing.

Sentencing both to a 12-month community order, including 200 hours of unpaid work, Judge George Moorhouse told the pair: “You are two respectable young men, good athletes with no previous convictions who have really let yourselves down.”

The men were ordered to pay the victim £500 each in compensation.