THREE attackers have walked free from court despite a brutal assault on a soldier and a cancer patient.
Donald Mahn, 67, was left with a fractured leg when he was pushed to the ground outside the Board Inn pub, in Durham Road, Sunderland.
The cancer sufferer had tried to step in after he saw Lee Lewis attack a woman at the popular pub.
Then, when off duty squaddie Damian Holland told Lewis to leave the woman alone, he was pounced on by Graham Saxton and Michael Hilton, who fractured his jaw after repeatedly kicking him.
Mr Mahn needed surgery to have steel plates fitted to his thigh bone and was on crutches for three months.
He told police: “This whole incident has left me feeling sick to my stomach.
“I go to the pub regularly and have never had any problems, let alone being attacked for trying to help someone.”
Mr Holland needed staples to a head wound and had screws and plates fitted in his jaw.
He said he will “think twice about being a good Samaritan in future.”
Prosecutor Bob Spragg said Mr Mahn got involved because he recognised the victim through her job as a carer at a nursing home where his mother had lived and saw she was under attack outside the bar.
Mr Spragg said: “Although he was 67, he went out to assist. He remonstrated with Lewis.
“Lewis put both his hands on his shoulders, grabbed his clothing and threw him forcibly to the floor.”
Mr Holland, who had not seen the attack on Mr Mahn, stepped in when he saw Miss Lamb crawling towards him and told Lewis “leave her alone”.
As he walked away from the pub he realised he was being followed.
Witnesses said the attack by Saxton and Hilton was “shocking and cowardly as he was lying on the ground unable to defend himself”.
Despite the serious injuries caused, all three attackers were given suspended prison sentences.
Mr Recorder Graham Hyland QC told them: “You do not need me to tell you that each of you are essentially decent men who participated in a disgraceful violent incident.”
Lewis, 31, of Tanfield Road, Thorney Close, Sunderland, admitted common assault and causing grievous bodily harm.
He was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with 200 hours’ unpaid work.
The court heard Lewis, who had started training as a nurse, handed in references from people describing him as “one of the good ones”, feels deep remorse and has never been in trouble before.
Saxton, 31, of Thorntree Gill, Peterlee, admitted causing grievous bodily harm.
He was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with 150 hours’ unpaid work and £1,000 compensation.
The court heard Saxton suffers from post traumatic stress following 12 years in the army.
Michael Hilton, 30, of Balmoral Terrace, East Herrington, admitted causing grievous bodily harm.
He was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with a three-month night-time curfew.
The court heard Hilton had been living an isolated existence and feels remorse for his involvement.