AN elderly man, with no criminal history, carried out an apparently unprovoked attack on a neighbour he had not spoken to for years, a court heard.

Allan Scott, 71, emerged from bushes and struck him several times about the head and shoulders with a home-made kosh.

The neighbour went to ground where Scott punched him and grabbed him round the throat.

Jane Foley, prosecuting, said neighbours in Ferens Close, Durham, came to his assistance, among them a doctor.

The victim suffered an open brow wound, a nasal abrasion, a swollen cheek and lacerations.

Miss Foley said the victim spoke of “issues” with the defendant, historically, but in the decade since he refused to do work on his roof, Scott has not spoken to him.

Since the incident, on August 22, Scott has lived out of the area and has put his house up for sale.

The defendant admitted assault causing bodily harm and possessing an offensive weapon.

Andrew Walker, for Scott, said: “He has not sold his house yet but may only have to return to make arrangements for the sale.”

Judge Singh told Scott whatever his perceived perception behind the attack, “there is no justification for the way you behaved”, adding: “The only saving grace is that you pleaded guilty right at the outset.”

The judge said due to his age, lack of previous offences and his early guilt plea he could suspended a 14-month prison sentence, for two years, during which Scott must undergo 30 rehabilitation activity days working with the Probation Service and pay his victim £750 compensation.

He was also made subject of a five-year restraining order prohibiting contact with him.

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