A LONG-running neighbour dispute descended into violence, leaving one man with a broken ankle.

Christopher Mullen launched an unprovoked attack on his victim when he knocked on his door to ask him to turn his music down.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 43-year-old ‘overreacted’ and threw a flurry of punches at the man after shouting ‘who the f*** is knocking at my door’.

Martin Towers, prosecuting, said when the fist victim's partner came outside her house, Mullen then punched her twice in the face.

The court heard how there had been simmering tension between the two households at times throughout the 12 years they had lived next door to each other.

Mr Towers said: "The victim decided to go to the defendant's house to ask him to turn the music down; he knocked on the door and the defendant shouted 'who the f*** is knocking on my door'.

"As he opened the door, the defendant grabbed the victim by the jumper with both hands and them began to hit him – throwing punches with a clenched fist, which connected with his face.

"His partner then came running out of her home and told the defendant to let go of her partner and at that point he punched her twice to the head with a clenched fist."

Mr Towers said the first victim managed to wrestle the attacker to the ground and get him in a chokehold while waiting for the police to arrive.

The defendant complained he was choking and when the victim released his grip, the defendant bit his arm.

As a result of the melee, the male victim suffered a broken ankle when the pair fell as they tussled outside the house.

The male victim said he had to take time off work and was still suffering pain from his fractured ankle.

And Mullen's next door neighbour, in her victim impact statement, said she no longer felt safe in her own home.

Mullen, of Langdale Crescent, Grangetown, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm and assault by beating.

Chris Morrison, in mitigation, said his client was ashamed of his actions that day and put it down to complications he was experiencing in his personal life at the time.

He said: "He apologised at the time and it's right to say that the defendant has been mortified by the extent of the injuries caused.

"He accepts that he was responsible for them."

Judge Paul Watson QC, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, gave Mullen a 12-month community order and ordered him to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work as well as paying his first victim £1,000 in compensation.

He said: "I entirely accept this was very much a one-off, it was a neighbour dispute that got completely out-of-hand and ended up with the attack of the victim. The injuries you caused him were recklessly caused rather than deliberately caused."