Attacker caught with victim’s blood on his knuckles

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A MAN was punched and kicked during an attack in his garden when a neighbour dispute erupted in violence.

Roger Hayes was having a cigarette outside his Sunderland home when he was assaulted by two men, leaving him with the pupil in one of his eyes permanently enlarged.

His next door neighbour Mark Dixon, 30, of Gleneagles Road, Sunderland, admitted assault, but prosecutors accept he played the minor role in the violence.

The second attacker has not been brought to justice.

Prosecutor Gavin Doig told the court Mr Hayes was warned “you’ve had this coming for a long time” before he was pounced on.

Mr Doig said: “Mr Hayes realised he was about to be assaulted and he was.

“He was punched and kicked by the two men.

“In fairness to the defendant, Mr Hayes said it was the other man who was the main assailant.”

Mr Hayes was left with black eyes, a wound to his lip, a swollen and bloody

nose and damage to his pupil.

Mr Doig added: “His pupil is enlarged and likely to remain so.”

Dixon denied involvement in the attack before Mr Hayes’ blood was found on a swab taken from his knuckles.

Christopher Morrison, defending, said Dixon, a working father, snapped because he believed Mr Hayes had said something derogatory about a member of his family.

Mr Morrison said there had been a history of problems between the neighbours.

But he added: “There has been some considerable cooling down.

“They still live next door to each other and there has been no repetition of any hostility between the two men since.

“Things have calmed down and both sides are making an effort to put this behind them.”

Mr Justice Openshaw sentenced Dixon to six months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with 150 hours unpaid work.

The judge said: “If he was to serve that sentence of imprisonment he would lose his job and all manner of problems would ensue.

“In all the circumstances I have no doubt justice requires the sentence should be suspended.”

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho