A drunken thug who launched an unprovoked attack on a Good Samaritan motorist who stopped to offer roadside help has been spared jail.
Bus driver Steven Howe was making his way home from work in the early hours of May 1 last year, in his own car, when he saw what he believed to be a crashed vehicle at Leechmere Road in Sunderland.
Newcastle Crown Court heard when he approached he formed the view that the person at the wheel was unfit to drive and went to walk away.
In response to his kindness, three people knocked the 54-year-old to the ground, where he was beaten and kicked, while his “pride and joy” car was damaged during the attack.
The violence left Mr Howe, and others who saw what happened, “shaken and shocked”.
Mr Howe had injuries to his eye, slack teeth, a sore jaw, swellings and tenderness to his face.
Andrew Dove, 25, of Portland Road, Plains Farm, Sunderland, admitted being part of the violence and pleaded guilty to assault.
Miss Recorder Sarah Mallett said: “As he was trying to back away he was punched. He fell to the ground and then he was kicked. He was, albeit briefly, unconscious.
“He was shaken and shocked and this has caused him to question whether, in similar circumstances, he would behave the same way and stop to help other people.”
The judge accepted Dove felt genuine remorse for his involvement and told him: “I take the view this was a one-off incident. You had consumed alcohol to such an extent it effected your behaviour in this way.”
Dove was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with 200 hours unpaid work, a six-month curfew, £500 compensation and £1,399 costs.