A BRIEF outbreak of violence took place when a man took exception to a comment made by his mother during a wake after a family funeral, a court was told.

Matthew Cowper, who had drunk about ten pints in the funeral aftermath, snapped amid a row with his mother.

Durham Crown Court heard that he reacted by throwing a punch to her left ear.

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said it caused her to fall against the fridge freezer in the kitchen at her home address.

She struck her head against the fridge door, causing a cut to her right eyebrow.

Mr Dryden said Cowper’s uncle intervened to assist his sister.

But Cowper pushed him away causing him to strike his head on the cooker, rendering him temporarily unconscious.

Mr Dryden said Cowper’s mother was taken to hospital suffering a 2cm laceration to her right temple, plus bruising to the left side of her forehead.

Her brother suffered slightly worse injuries, being taken to hospital complaining of numbness to his right cheek and lips as well as blurred vision.

It emerged he had a right orbital eye socket fracture.

Mr Dryden said police attended the house and arrested Cowper at 9.05pm on June 26, 2019.

When interviewed, the defendant said he had been drinking heavily during the day, estimating he had consumed ten pints.

He said his recollection was affected by the alcohol, but he remembered arguing, pushing and shoving, although he could not recall what started the incident.

Mr Dryden said Cowper could not recall hitting his mother and told police he did not think he would have done that, “no matter how made he was with her”.

Cowper could also not recall pushing his uncle.

Mr Dryden said Cowper’s mother said she found the incident “devastating” and was left scared to the side of her face and bruised beneath her right eye.

She recalled having to make a “difficult decision” to make a statement to police, given that it was her son.

Her brother endured lingering numbness to his lip and suffered depression after the incident, for which he sought counselling.

The 38-year-old defendant, of Meldon Avenue, Sherburn Village, admitted unlawful wounding and assault causing actual bodily harm.

Judge James Adkin said given his lack of previous convictions and guilty pleas, he would not impose an immediate prison sentence, but asked about his ability to pay compensation.

Chris Morrison, for Cowper, said he began a family business just before the initial lockdown and has struggled but is just managing, “to get by”.

Judge Adkin imposed a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered Cowper to perform 180 hours’ unpaid work and pay £750 compensation in six months.

The judge put in place a restraining order prohibiting him from contacting or approaching his uncle for the next two years.