A cyclist has been spared jail for attacking a man he was initially trying to save.
Mark MacBryde, 34, had approached his victim, who was walking along the “black path” in Washington in a drunken state, to warn him he appeared to be being followed by two youths.
Newcastle Crown Court heard, when his kindness was met with “hostility”, he threw two punches, which fractured the stranger’s jaw and cheekbone.
After the violence flared, MacBryde, who had been riding home on his bike, realised that the people following his victim were his son and friend, who were tailing the drunk dad to make sure he got home safe.
When the son realised his dad had come under attack, he lashed out at MacBryde with a stick, leaving him bleeding heavily from the face.
MacBryde, of Boystones Court, Albany, Washington, admitted causing grievous bodily harm.
Judge John Milford QC sentenced him to nine monthe imprisonment, suspended for two years, with 80 hours unpaid work and £140 compensation.
The judge told MacBryde: “The circumstances of this case are very unusual.
“The complainant was adversely effected by drink to such and extent that there was apprehension in his family that he might not get home safely.
“So it was, unbeknown to you, his son and another young man were at some distance behind, shadowing him.
“This was the scene that you encountered and which you misread, which his understandable.
“You thought that the two young men following behind the complainant, who by now had deviated off his route home to the black path, were up to no good.
“You thought it would be appropriate for you to stop and warn the complainant about their presence and the potential danger to him.”
The court heard the victim remembers nothing about the confrontation with MacBryde, who claims the drunk dad was hostile and unable to understand him.
MacBryde is in employment and has not been in any recent trouble.