A MAN who beat his abusive, alcoholic father, leaving him with blood pouring from his face, was spared a prison sentence yesterday.

Nils Jack Jolliffe, 27, admitted grievous bodily harm against his father, Glen, on December 11.

Darlington magistrates heard that Jolliffe's father had abused him mentally and physically, that he had found it hard to cope with the domestic violence his father had inflicted on his mother and that his father had introduced him to heroin, which led to a ten-year addiction.

Paul Hunter, prosecuting, told the court the assault happened when Jolliffe went to see his father and found him drinking lager.

Mr Hunter said: "Glen struggled to his feet before the defendant resumed the assault, raining further blows with his fists about the victim's head and face. The victim became unconscious with blood pouring from his face."

Mr Jolliffe senior was taken to hospital with severe bruising to his left eye socket and cheekbone and a swollen eye.

In mitigation, Laura Saunders-Jerrom said the incident occurred after Jolliffe tried to get his father into a detox centre for his alcoholism, but he had discharged himself after only a few days.

She said that Jolliffe went to his father's house, where he found him drinking a pint of vodka, whisky, Special Brew and White Star cider - not lager - and this sparked his frustration and anger.

"It appears the drink has featured in Glen's life a great deal and has had a horrific affect on the way Nils has been brought up," she said.

Mrs Saunders-Jerrom said her client was ashamed of the incident and, having been off heroin for a year, was trying to get his life together.

Chairman of the bench Donald White told Jolliffe, of Brighton Road, Darlington, the court had considered sending him to prison, but gave him a 12-month community rehabilitation order and ordered him to pay £200 compensation.

Jolliffe also pleaded guilty to unrelated matters of drink-driving, driving without insurance, a licence or MOT on September 9.

Magistrates banned him from driving for 16 months.