A HOMELESS man carried out an unprovoked attack on a restaurateur outside his city centre premises.

The incident arose after Michael George Johnson was seen punching a sign outside Akarsu, a Turkish restaurant in Silver Street, Durham, at 6pm on January 28, last year.

Durham Crown Court heard that as it was captured on the restaurant’s cctv the owner went out to remonstrate with Johnson.

He was sworn at by Johnson, who said he was having, “a bad day.”

Anthony Dunne, prosecuting, said as the owner turned to return to his premises he was punched twice in the face by Johnson.

He reciprocated, throwing a punch at Johnson, who stepped back and took out a metal extendable baton, which he used to strike him on the head and arms.

The owner took him in a headlock and as they struggled on the ground he was kicked in the face by John’s accomplce, Michael Simm.

Bystanders helped to restrain Johnson until police arrived to arrested them.

The victim suffered a 2cm cut to the forehead, plus abrasions, cuts and swellings to his face, mouth and arms.

Mr Dunne said some racist remarks were uttered while Johnson was being detained.

Johnson, 42, now of Third Street, Quaking Houses, near Stanley, admitted wounding with intent and possessing an offensive weapon.

Simm, 40, of King Edward Street, Shildon, admitted assault causing actual bodily harm.

John Crawford, for Johnson, said he, too, suffered injuries, including the loss of teeth and broken ribs in the incident.

Johnson, appearing via video link from nearby Durham Prison, read a letter apologising to the victim, saying he was living on the street at the time, after breaking up with his wife, and was in the grip of, “a violent drug habit”, while he also twice suffered with Covid.

But he has since begun to get his life back on track, moving back to his mother’s home, and resuming his trade of plastering, until his remand in custody, in April.

Tony Cornberg, for Simm, said he played a much lesser role in the incident, but he, too, has been in custody, in his case, since late March.

Judge Ray Singh put in place a three-year restraining order prohibiting both from contacting or approaching the restaurant and its owner.

He imposed a 42-month prison sentence on Johnson, but, given the time spent in custody, passed a 12-month prison term, suspended for two years, on Simm, who must complete 20 days working with the Probation Service.

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