A MAN punched a woman in the face because she was a member of a rival family, a court heard.

Carling Hayes admitted he hit the victim in the face after the pair spotted each other in the centre of Middlesbrough after a night out last November.

Teesside Crown Court heard the 22-year-old punched the woman in the face after shouting abuse relating to her brother because there was a long-standing rivalry between the two families.

Hayes claimed he dodged a punch from the victim before striking her late at night, but admitted he hit the woman, causing a black eye.

Annalise Haugsted, prosecuting, said: “Just before midnight the victim was leaving a party with two friends. They were at a party in Middlesbrough and was talking at the traffic lights when she saw the defendant, who was known to her. There had been a number of problems regarding the two respective families.

“The defendant shouted at her and she shouted back. He swung a punch, making contact with force to her right eye, causing it to bruise. The defendant ran away and got into a vehicle.

“During a police interview he said it was a single punch and she had swung at him but he dodged it by stepping away.”

Anthony Pettengell, defending, said Hayes has suffered with mental health challenges and there has been a long history between the families. He added Robinson has not been in trouble since the incident last year and now understands the impact the assault has had on the victim and her family.

Hayes, of Barnabas Road, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to assault by beating. He was handed a two months and three weeks sentence suspended for 12 months. He was also given a three-month curfew and ordered to attend 15 rehabilitation days.