A man who, in his own words, “just lost it”, attacked his own father and a female visitor to his home.

Paul Brashaw carried out the apparently inexplicable on his father who suffered with the lung condition COPD, relying on an oxygen supply in his bedroom.

Brashaw had been helping to care for his father in the days after his release from a previous spell in custody, but on the night in question, when he was worse the wear for drink, he turned on him, repeatedly punching him to the facial area.

Durham Crown Court heard the events of the early hours of October 27, last year, arose from a female victim of Brashaw’s later violent outburst being on a night out with friends in pubs in Bishop Auckland, the previous evening.

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As the women left Lisa’s Bar they saw the defendant across the road and he shouted over to them, engaging in a brief conversation, before following the group as they made their journey home, on foot.

They later saw him sitting on a wall near a graveyard in the South Church area and there was a further brief conversation before the woman was invited into the nearby Red Alligator pub.

Chris Baker, prosecuting, said Brashaw followed them in and then went on to the home of a friend of the woman.

He then asked her to walk with him to the address where he was living with his father, in Close House, Coundon Grange.

Mr Baker said when they got there Brashaw’s father James was present, in bed receiving oxygen, being looked after by the defendant’s uncle, who then left the property.

The woman chatted with Mr Brashaw senior, before going to use the toilet, where the defendant barged in and confronted her, shouting and grabbing her.

Mr Baker said the prosecution would say that in doing so he also kicked the woman, but the defendant would "only" admit to punching her.

Her handbag was damaged in the commotion, after which Brashaw turned on his father, who by then was on the phone in the living room with the defendant’s mother.

The defendant began shouting at him and then punching him in the face with his right fist, which the woman recalled had taping over a ring.

As he did so he was repeatedly asking why his father was ringing his mother.

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Mr Baker said the police were summoned and the defendant left the house but remained in the area, climbing over a back fence where he was seen making gestures with his hands and fingers to indicate he was watching.

When he was later arrested and interviewed he denied the assaults on both his father and the female victim, suggesting it was she who attacked him.

Despite initially denying attempting to cause grievous bodily harm and assault causing actual bodily harm, plus criminal damage to property, arising from his conduct at the house that night, on the day of trial the 40-year-old defendant, of Caswell Croft, Sheffield, admitted assaulting his father and a common assault offence relating to the female victim.

The court heard that his admissions were made on the basis it was a flurry of punches to his father and a single punch on the woman, but denying also kicking her.

Mr Baker then went through some of the defendant’s past convictions, several for violence going back to 2004, including past assaults on women.

The court heard the defendant was released from prison only ten days prior to the incident in October, after a previous allegation was not pursued by the Crown.

Assessing the level of the latest offences in the sentencing guidelines, Mr Baker said the attack on his father, who was “obviously” in a vulnerable position, taking oxygen by mask due to his ailments, was “prolonged” and left him spending time in hospital recovering.

The female victim was also in a vulnerable position being alone at the defendant's home, and both offences were carried out while the defendant was under the influence of alcohol.

Nicoleta Alistari, in mitigation, said the defendant has now drawn back from his earlier suggestion that he was not the original aggressor in either case.

“He resiles from, accepting full responsibility for the violence and he is remorseful in relation to both victims.

“In his own words, ‘he lost it’, having consumed a large amount of alcohol.”

Miss Alistari told the court that the defendant suffered a head injury in December 2022 and his behaviour has been affected, causing him to lose his temper much more quickly.

She said that he has spent almost eight months in custody since his arrest for this incident, during which time he has suffered a family bereavement, for which he was allowed to attend the funeral.

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Miss Alistari added that Brashaw was keen to engage with the Probation Service, receive mental health treatment and undergo assessment as part of a suspended sentence.

But Judge Jo Kidd told Miss Alistari: “Having been released from custody only ten days earlier and having a history of significant violent offending, even against a background of a difficult childhood upbringing it is so serious that only an immediate prison sentence is appropriate.”

Imposing a 27-month prison sentence Judge Kidd was told there was no application in this case for the making of a restraining order.