A MAN who carried out a ‘vicious and unprovoked’ assault has been jailed for 12 years.

Ethan Suttie, aged 20, from Darlington, was arrested after repeatedly punching a man in his thirties in the head, causing him to fall to the ground.

The victim was walking alone on McMullen Road, in Darlington, after finishing work at 2am on December 28 last year, when he became aware of three men on the opposite side of the road.

To make space between himself and the men, who were being loud and aggressive, the victim quickened his pace to get away from them.

He suddenly became aware of footsteps approaching him behind before he was punched in the back of his head causing him to stagger forwards.

He was then repeatedly punched in the head and face and was taken to hospital where he was treated for a fractured skull, nose and upper cheekbone, and multiple fractures to his jaw.

Suttie was arrested shortly after the attack and charged with inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent.

He denied the offence but was found guilty following a trial at Newcastle Crown Court last week where he was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Detective Constable Helen Hudson, who led the investigation, said: “The victim in this case has suffered life changing injuries which has resulted in him having metal plates inserted into his face.

“I would like to take the opportunity to thank the victim and his family who have shown such bravery during his recovery process and also showed immense courage during the trial where he had to relive this savage attack.

“This was a complex case and the sentence imposed shows that this type of offence will not be tolerated.

“Members of the public should always feel safe when walking the streets of Darlington and I hope they feel reassured that Suttie is now off the streets and behind bars.”