A MAN who has had a drinking problem since the age of 13 has been jailed for robbery.
While drunk, Joseph Sargent robbed innocent passer-by Michael Smith, repeatedly punching him to the ground in a frenzied attack on February 16 this year.
Michael, 63, who had been walking through a car park in the Southwick area at the time, suffered a broken nose, swollen black-eye and now, as a result of the attack, experiences confusion, dizziness and memory loss.
Sargent, 23, formerly of Southwick, pleaded guilty to robbery and was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail.
His sentence was then extended by a further 10 weeks due to the breach of a previous suspended sentence.
Simon Worthy, Prosecuting at Newcastle Crown Court, said: “Heavily under the influence of drink, you approached Mr Smith, demanding that he gave you his car keys and mobile phone. When Mr Smith replied saying ‘no chance’, you started to hit him in the face. You continued to do this until he fell to the ground.
“You then stole his belongings.”
CCTV footage from various establishments confirmed Sargent’s location at the scene of the attack and an eye-witness identified him as the offender.
Mr Worthy added: “Mr Smith still suffers from dizziness when looking down, confusion and memory loss.”
Jamie Adams, defending, highlighted the defendant’s history of alcohol abuse, saying: “On one hand this is a young man who can commit an offence of this kind having consumed a lot of drink.
“On the other hand, he is a phenomenal worker, of a good background and highly regarded by everyone who knows him.
“He has had a drink problem since the age of 13.
“He must of been out of his mind at the time and he knows it has to stop.”
Judge Penny Moreland addressed the defendant: “Mr Smith is a gentlemen of a much older age than yourself.
“You approached him, made a ridiculous remark, before taking everything he had.”