Tony ‘The Fridge’ was left exposed after trousers split in tussle

Tony the Fridge Morrison, leaving Sunderland Magistrates' Court after his trial.

Tony the Fridge Morrison, leaving Sunderland Magistrates' Court after his trial.

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Charity fundraiser Tony ‘The Fridge’ Morrison has been warned to stay away from the Wearside family of a former employee he attacked in a row over missing company data.

Sunderland Magistrates Court heard 51-year-old Morrison had gone to confront Andrew Mallaby at his home in the city because he believed he was selling confidential information to a rival marketing company.

I don’t believe a restraining order is necessary but you need to be made aware that any contact that is perceived to be intimidating or threatening will mean you will be brought back to court.

District Judge Roger Elsey

But after being let into the house, an altercation took place where he assaulted Mr Mallaby as they grappled on the stairs.

Morrison denied assaulting Andrew Mallaby and his father George by punching him, but was convicted when he appeared at court yesterday.

He also denied assaulting Andrew’s mother Jean and sister Lauren, as well as using violence to secure entry to the house, and was cleared of all three charges.

Judge Roger Elsey said Andrew Mallaby’s sister Lauren, who had initially let him into the house, rang the police after shouting at him to leave. He was eventually bundled out, where two colleagues broke up the melee and they left.

During the struggle Morrison told the court his trousers split open, leaving him exposed as he had no underwear on.

“The sirens of the police officers could be heard but he did not wait for their arrival,” said Judge Elsey.

“If he thought he was an innocent man who had been assaulted he would have waited for the police.”

He sentenced Morrison to a 12-month community order with 200 hours unpaid work and £200 compensation to the Mallabys, with £400 prosecution costs.

Morrison had been banned from any contact with the Mallabys – even through a solicitor – as a condition of his bail and told the court he was planning legal action to recover property he claimed had been taken from him.

Judge Elsey stopped short of issuing a restraining order banning Morrison, of Jutland Avenue, Hebburn, from any contact with the family after hearing he had not breached his bail.

But he reminded him of the possible consequences of approaching the family.

“I assume you are an intelligent man who has been able to reflect upon what has happened and who may learn the lessons from these proceedings,” he said.

“I don’t believe a restraining order is necessary but you need to be made aware that any contact that is perceived to be intimidating or threatening will mean you will be brought back to court.”

Morrison became famous for running with a 94lb (42.5kg) fridge on his back and was named fundraiser of the year at the Pride of Britain Awards 2014.

His motto has been “be relentless”, and he has covered more than 1,000 miles with a fridge strapped to his back, raising more than £100,000 for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.