A grieving son who attacked a man over a £500 debt owed to his late father has been spared jail.
Michael Parker, 49, wanted to use £500 owed by Brian Fairley to put towards funeral costs for his dad.
Newcastle Crown Court heard, when Mr Fairley refused to hand over any cash, Parker launched a vicious attack.
As a result of around nine punches, Mr Fairley had a wound to his face that needed sutured, a black eye and a fractured little finger.
Parker, of Alwin Close, Burnmoor, Fencehouses, admitted assault.
His barrister Andrew Walker said Parker’s father, who was not a rich man, had died aged 72 and was still owed £500 by Mr Fairley.
Mr Walker added: “The defendant said he had raised, for the very first time immediately before this incident, whether Mr Fairley would repay the £500, which would go towards funeral costs.
“Mr Fairley roundly rejected that, on the basis the father was dead.
“The defendant lost his temper.
“This may have justified strong words but did not justify what happened.”
Mr Recorder Mark McKone sentenced Parker to six months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months with 200 hours unpaid work and rehabilitation requirements.
The judge told him: “I can appreciate straight away that was a sensitive issue to you but you will appreciate you can’t resolve issues like that with violence.”
The judge said the incident was “quite disgraceful” and described the violence as “sustained and unpleasant” but accepted Parker has been out of trouble for years The court heard the violence flared utside Joseph’s bar in Sunderland city centre on March when the two men met by chance.
CCTV footage from outside the bar shows Parker lashing out at Mr Fairley while onlookers tried to put a stop to the violence.
In a victim statement, Mr Fairley said: “I am very angry and would like to know why he felt the need to assault me.”