A man was jailed over a doorstep confrontation in which the victim was left with fractures to both eye sockets by his stepson.

The brief flurry of violence took place at the door of the home shared by defendant Adam Emmerson's mother and her husband, in Bishop Auckland, on November 15, last year.

Durham Crown Court was told the injuries were caused in a dispute over tobacco Emmerson claimed belonged to him when he called at the address, not far from his home, said to be, “just around the corner”.

The Northern Echo: Adam Emmerson jailed for assault on his step-father at the doorstep of his Bishop Auckland home

Paul Abrahams, prosecuting, said Emmerson called earlier and his stepfather refused to hand over the tobacco he was asking for, but the defendant returned a short time later repeating the request.

It was again refused, and his stepfather tried to push Emmerson away, but the confrontation progressed to punching.

Emmerson, who appeared to be under the influence of alcohol, landed a blow which knocked his stepfather to the ground, where he then delivered a forcible kick to his face, which was captured on CCTV.

Mr Abrahams said, as a consequence of the attack, the victim was taken to hospital suffering multiple complex bone fractures to both eye sockets.

He was referred to the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough for further, more specialist treatment.

Mr Abrahams said Emmerson was arrested and made no comment to police questions, while the victim refused to provide an updated personal statement as to the ongoing effect of his injuries.

The Northern Echo:

The 36-year-old defendant, of James Street, in Bishop Auckland, denied the initial charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, but he admitted the slightly lesser offence of causing grievous bodily harm, without the “intent” element.

Following consideration of the case, the prosecution decided to accept the defendant’s plea.

Duncan McReddie, in mitigation, said the defendant admitted responsibility from the outset.

“He made remarks to the attending officers in which he clearly accepted his guilt.”

Mr McReddie said there was a delay in receiving the medical information as to whether any fractures had been caused.

“He was advised not to enter a ‘rushed’ plea as there was no evidence of a wound for some considerable time.

“It was not beyond possibility that it may have been 'actual bodily harm', rather than 'wounding'.”

Judge Nathan Adams reminded Mr McReddie the actual charge was one of causing grievous bodily harm, rather than wounding.

But the judge said in the circumstances, he would agree to allow the defendant 25 per cent credit for his guilty plea, made at the court at a previous hearing, on January 17.

The sentencing hearing was told the defendant has no previous convictions, but does have four past cautions to his name, including one each for common assault and making threats to kill.

Mr McReddie said there was a connection between the defendant’s mental health, his “mental state”, and his behaviour that night.

“I accept it was in-part through voluntary intoxication, and his use of alcohol and drugs arose through a particularly difficult childhood.”

Mr McReddie said his client went to his mother’s address not just to ask them for alcohol, money or tobacco.

He said the tobacco and money are held by his mother as the defendant does not have, “the best control over his spending habits”.

“So, he was not begging for, or scrounging tobacco."

Mr McReddie claimed that, “without ceremony”, on calling at the door, Emmerson was pushed to the ground and was, “offering no threat”.

But he conceded it developed to punches, one of which knocked his stepfather to the ground, and the defendant admits he then kicked him.

“He has always accepted that, and he’s sorry.

“While clean and sober on remand he knows he must abstain from alcohol and illicit drugs.

“He has made up with his mother and apologises.”

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Judge Nathan Adams told Emmerson he had caused “significant injuries”, which were the result, “almost certainly”, of the kick.

He said had the case gone to trial, Emmerson would have received a 30-month term of custody, but with 25-per cent credit for plea he “rounded down” the sentence to one of 22 months’ imprisonment.

Judge Adams told Emmerson he hoped he could avail himself of the drug and alcohol recovery services available to him while serving his sentence.