Grandad attacked with broom handle as family feud turned violent

A broom

A broom

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A grandad was attacked with a broom handle when a feud between two families erupted in violence.

Craig Merrigan was "at the end of his tether" after six years of trouble when he went to confront Anthony Carr for a final showdown in a bid to bring the bad feeling to a halt.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 29-year-old "saw red", picked up a broom handle and used it to hit the older man's head.

One shocked witness, who saw the early morning attack as she took her son to school last September 14, said she was "frighened" by what she saw.

Mr Carr needed 12 stitches to his ear and has suffered flashbacks after the attack by Merrigan, who was spared jail after it was accepted he was initially acting as "peacemaker" that day.

Merrigan, of Boldon, South Tyneside, admitted unlawful wounding and affray.

Mr Recorder Eric Elliott QC told him: "On the face of it, it was an unprovoked attack, using a weapon, on a man of mature years, in a public place, early in the morning.

"That only tells one part of the story.

"The whole story involves a long standing history of difficulties and harassment you and your family have had to undergo at the hands of certain people.

"The reality of the situation is, by the day of this incident, you were at the end of your tether.

"There had been an incident the previous night involving your brother being subjected to an ordeal which was the straw that broke the camel's back.

"It is accepted you went to be, initially, peacemaker."

Merrigan, who has previous convictions for violence, was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with supervision.

The judge said Merrigan was a "hard working man, doing his level best to look after and support his partner and family."

Prosecutors say the origins of the families' fall out is between Merrigan and Mr Carr's son Wayne.

Katherine Dunn, defending, told the court the night before the attack Merrigan's brother's family home had been raided by two men and the family had been inundated with "bizarre" text messages.

Miss Dunn said the family have had to move house six times in the last six years, made 100 calls to the police and have a panic alarm installed in their home.

Miss Dunn added: "He foolishly decided to go and speak to the father in the hope that this horrendous history could be resolved.

"He had absolutely no intentions whatsoever to commit any offences. His sole intention was to try and resolve these matters.

"He was at the end of his tether.

"He bitterly regrets it."

The court heard there has been no further trouble between the families since the attack.