Brothers spared jail after fight left shopper needing surgery

The Galleries shopping centre in Washington
The Galleries shopping centre in Washington

A shopper suffered a broken leg and needed a hip replacement after being knocked over by two brothers fighting outside a retail complex.

Wearside brothers Lee Atwill, 23, and Louis Atwill, 20, were scuffling near the Galleries in Washington when they knocked Michael Brown to the ground as he tried to walk past them to do his shopping.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 54-year-old victim who has suffered from long-term poor health, walks with a stick and has arthritis and Parkinsons disease, spent nine days in hospital and needed hip replacement surgery as a result of what happened.

Mr Brown told police in a statement: “I will have months of pain because of two daft lads messing around in a public area”.

Prosecutor Emma Dowling told the court the brothers, who both work as roofers, had started arguing and then fighting on a footpath leading to the shopping centre, forcing some passersby to “retreat out of the way”.

Miss Dowling added: “Lee Atwill ended up going backwards into Mr Brown and pushing him to the floor, as a result of their fight with each other. Mr Brown ended up falling to the ground and fracturing his femur.”

Miss Dowling told the court the brothers immediately stopped their fight and tried to help Mr Brown when they realised what had happened.

She added: “It was stupid beyond belief but there was no intent.”

Judge Stephen Earl said the brothers had acted like “idiots” but added: “They both apologised immeditely. It goes to show how idiotic behaviour can have dire consequences.”

Each was given 10 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, with curfew requirements and 245 hours of unpaid work each. They must both pay £2,000 compensation.

Judge Earl told them: “For me to say that your behaviour was foolish would be putting it mildly.”

Lee Atwill, of Newsted Road, and Louis Atwill, of Gertrude Street, both Houghton, admitted causing grievous bodily harm and affray.