A man who headbutted, punched and kicked a pub landlord following a driving row has narrowly escaped an immediate prison sentence.

Steven Harris maintained that he acted in self-defence when he carried out the violent assault inside the east Cleveland pub.

The 36-year-old left the landlord with a fractured eye socket when he kicked him in the face after punching him to the ground.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Harris overreacted to the argument inside the Holywell View pub in Liverton Mines in June 2021 and attacked the pub landlord.

Harris was found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm following a trial at Teesside Magistrates’ Court but appealed against the verdict.

Judge Paul Watson KC, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, dismissed the appeal when he sat in Teesside Crown Court alongside two magistrates.

Tabitha Buck, mitigating, said her client accepts the verdict of the court but reminds the court that he has stayed out of trouble for more than two years.

She added: “This is an isolated set of circumstances.”

Miss Buck said Harris, who is unable to read or write, has struggled with his mental health for a number of years.

The Northern Echo: Hollywell View pub in Liverton Mines, east ClevelandHollywell View pub in Liverton Mines, east Cleveland (Image: Google)

The judge sentenced the defendant to 12 months in custody suspended for 18 months and ordered him to pay £300 in compensation to his victim.

He said: I heard your appeal and it is right to say that I could not be sure that it was you or the victim who started all of this in terms of violence that was used.

“Perhaps it doesn’t matter as it is clear that you overreacted. The two of you were having an argument or set-to about his driving.

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“You made some threats to him, head-butted him, kicked him to the ribs and whilst he was on the ground, there was one kick to the head.

“You claimed you were acting in self-defence.”

Harris was also ordered to attend 35 rehabilitation activity requirement days, carry out 100 hours of unpaid work, issued with a six-month trail monitoring tag, and a 12-month restraining order.

The judge added: “Your mental health issues seem to engender feelings of anger and impulsivity. That may have been part of the explanation for the reason for the way you reacted in the way that you did.”