A DRUNKEN man who grappled with a woman in a takeaway restaurant received some summary justice from onlookers in the premises.

Durham Crown Court heard the victim who had been out in Darlington, on Friday March 6, was chatting to a friend in a takeaway restaurant, Speedy Pepper, in Skinnergate, at about 3am.

Vince Ward, prosecuting, said they were interrupted by Shaun William Hughes, who tried to grab the woman’s handbag, spilling the contents onto the floor.

“While she tried to pick things up he continued to grab at her, as if trying to pull her towards the door.

“As he did so, she felt a pain in her left hand, causing her to scream and it later emerged he had broken her middle finger, a displaced fracture for which she underwent surgery days later.”

Mr Ward said as Hughes left he threw a shoe at the woman, but he was pursued by six customers who followed him out into the street and assaulted him.

They were subsequently dealt with for assault.

Hughes was arrested and, when interviewed, denied assaulting the woman, but accepted throwing a shoe back into the shop.

“He recalled having spoken to a woman in the premises but said he could not recall what happened.”

The 30-year-old defendant, of Abbots Way, Stockton, admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm at a hearing, in August, before magistrates, who committed the case for sentence at the crown court.

Mr Ward said Hughes has only three convictions, including a case of battery as a doorman, in March 2015, when he punched a customer.

Gary Wood, mitigating, said the defendant’s memory of the incident “wasn’t great”, due to the amount he had drunk, but he did plead guilty at the first opportunity.

He said the experience of going through the court process has given his client “second thoughts” over the level of alcohol he consumes.

Judge James Adkin told Hughes he inflicted harm on, “a complete stranger, while you were out of it, in drink.”

He imposed in 14-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, during which he must complete 100-hours’ unpaid work, observe a four-month 8pm to 6am curfew.

Hughes was ordered to pay his victim £1,500 compensation within six months and he was also excluded from entering Speedy Pepper for two years.