AN innocent man enjoying a night out with his partner was attacked due to a “misunderstanding”, a court heard.

He was punched in the face by Marc David Baff both inside and outside Bar Lux in Consett, after midnight on April 27, last year.

Durham Crown Court was told the victim made a brief passing remark to Baff as their respective partners were enjoying themselves on the dance floor.

Martin Towers, prosecuting, said unknown to him, there was an earlier incident over a handbag belonging to Baff’s partner.

“The defendant misunderstood what was going on and thought the remark had a sinister purpose rather than being a simple attempt to be friendly.”

Mr Towers said the complainant became aware that Baff seemed to be staring at him.

As he was near the door at about 1.30pm, he was approached by Baff and, following an exchange, was punched by him.

Minutes later, outside the Front Street premises, as staff tried to prevent him from approaching the victim again, he told a female member of the door team that he wanted to kill the other man, but then said he meant he wanted to apologise to him.

Baff then ran across the road and threw a further punch, knocking the victim to the ground, striking his head off a concrete planter as he fell.

Mr Towers said it caused a serious injury to his ear, which was treated with stitches but which may be permanently scarred.

The contractor lost time at work, resulting in a drop in income, while he also suffered considerable pain for some time.

Mr Towers said the defendant was traced as he earlier told the female door supervisor he, too, was formerly employed as a doorman and inquiries revealed he worked with her boss.

Baff made no comment when interviewed, but gave police a prepared statement accepting involvement in the incident, stating he mistakenly believed his victim had something to do with the earlier hand bag incident.

The 31-year-old defendant, of Orwell Gardens, Stanley, admitted unlawful wounding.

Richard Copsey, mitigating, said he simply, “got the wrong end of the stick” as he was unaware the person responsible for walking off with his partner’s bag earlier had, subsequently apologised to her.

“It was a total misunderstanding on his behalf. As a former doorman, though, he should have known better.”

Jailing Baff for 14 months, Judge Jonathan Carroll told him: “The victim did nothing wrong, yet you took violent action against that innocent man.”