A DRUNKEN customer threw a pint of lager over a shopkeeper and then struck him in the side of the head with the glass, while uttering racist abuse, a court was told.

Ashley Morris Turner was being ushered from the phone repair shop in Consett by the business owner assisted by a friend of the defendant, when the attack took place in the doorway of the Middle Street premises.

Durham Crown Court heard that the confrontation carried on outside the shop where the owner’s wife was punched by Turner as she tried to help her husband.

Shaun Dodds, prosecuting, said the complainant was speaking to a customer, when Turner, who had been drinking in a nearby workingmen’s club, appeared in the premises carrying a pint of lager, at 1pm on October 12.

He was asked to leave, but refused, and after initially trying to detain him while calling for the police, the owner decided just to try to remove him from the shop.

As shoving took place at the door, Turner threw his lager at the shopkeeper, but followed through with the glass, striking him on the side of the head, causing a laceration, swelling and bruising.

Mr Dodds said the struggle carried on outside, where Turner continued to shout racial abuse and threw a punch at the owner’s wife, striking her in the face, causing a swelling and soreness.

Turner’s parting shot as he fled was to put out the window of a parked car.

In a victim statement the shop owner described the incident as “unprovoked” and “unacceptable.”

Turner, 26, of Coates Close, Stanley, admitted racially aggravated assault, assault by beating and criminal damage. His record includes two previous racially aggravated offences, plus several common assaults.

The offence also put him in breach of a 24-month community order imposed last March for domestic issues.

Dan Cordey, for Turner, said: “I don’t for a second suggest it’s anything other than serious, but I do submit it’s not over a prolonged period.”

Mr Cordey said Turner, who has never previously been to prison, “struggled to give an explanation as to why he behaved like he did”.

Recorder Darren Preston told Turner: “It’s perfectly obvious you were demonstrably drunk and, not unreasonably, were asked to leave, but became more and more aggressive.

“Your behaviour was disgraceful and racist, and could have caused more significant injuries than you did.”

He passed an 18-month prison sentence and made Turner subject to a five-year restraining order forbidding him going to the shop or approaching the owner.