A MAN used excessive force defending himself with a knife after a drunken row with his brother over the outcome of a game of darts got out of hand, a court heard.

David Peart stabbed brother Graham up to four times in the kitchen of a house in Pinedale Drive, South Hetton, where they were drinking with a mutual friend, on Wednesday June 17, last year.

Durham Crown Court was told the injuries were not as serious as they might have been, however, in the circumstances, but the 40-year-old defendant, of Colchester Terrace, Sunderland, was initially charge with wounding brother Graham with intent to do him grievous bodily.

He denied it at a hearing last month but pleaded guilty to the slightly lesser offence of unlawful wounding.

His plea was accepted by the Crown and sentence was adjourned pending preparation of a background probation report on the defendant.

Adjourning that hearing, Recorder David Kelly warned Peart “all options” remain open to the court, with custody, “a distinct possibility”.

When Peart failed to appear at the sentencing hearing, on April 1, a warrant was issued for his arrest, which was executed on Monday, when he came before the court.

Sentence was adjourned until yesterday, and Peart was remanded in custody.

Judge Ray Singh told Peart’s counsel, David Callan, that while such an offence merited custody, he was able to suspend the sentence, in this case, given his basis of plea, but with a series of “onerous” requirements.

Addressing Peart, the judge told him: “The background is that you were socialising at this address with your brother and a mutual friend.

“During the course of the evening there was an initial minor argument with your brother over a game of darts the night before, over who won and who didn’t.

“There was some excessive drinking, whisky was produced and that was drunk, and between the two of you, that verbal altercation became physical.

“Your brother accepted punching you to the face and it developed into the kitchen where he struck you again and, so, you picked up that 12ins knife and stabbed your brother to the chest.”

The judge said there were further wounds to the thigh, left hand and head, while Peart’s brother punched him again, before the defendant left the premises.

“What began as a verbal disagreement became embroiled in physical violence, but the first use of that violence was on you and you went beyond what you needed to do to defend yourself.”

But he added: “Not withstanding that it was a serious offence, the injuries were less serious than ordinarily would have been the case.”

He imposed a 14-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, but ordered Peart to undergo 30 rehabilitation activity days with the Probation Service, a six-month alcohol treatment programme and observe a three-month electronically-monitored 7pm to 7am home curfew.