'Dangerous' Sunderland attacker stamped on man's head in shocking onslaught on couple outside pub
A "dangerous" attacker who launched a "two-footed stamp" on a man's head during a brutal assault on a couple on a night out has been put behind bars.
Paul Watson, who has a long history of violence, had been "ushered" out of the Royal Marine pub in Seaburn after a brief confrontation with his victims inside.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the 39-year-old waited outside the bar until closing time and launched a shocking attack as the couple made their way along Sea Road towards the Marriott Hotel, where they were staying that night.
The court heard Watson repeatedly stamped on the man's head and punched his girlfriend away when she tried to come to his aid.
A judge said the male victim was lucky not to be killed during the violence.
Prosecutor Michael Bunch told the court the attacks, in September 2018, were captured on CCTV and added: "What it shows is the defendant attack both victims initially striking out and knocking the male to the ground.
"Once he was on the ground, the defendant repeatedly punches and kicks him to the point where he appears unconscious.
"The defendant stamps on his head several times and on at least one occasion he appears to leave the ground with both feet to jump with both feet onto him.
"His partner attempted to intervene to protect him but the defendant punched her a number of times, effectively to prevent her coming to her partner's aid."
The court heard the male victim was left with a broken nose, significant bruising and concussion. He said his anxiety about what happened was added to when he found out about Watson's long and violent criminal record.
The woman was left bruised.
Watson, of South Durham Street, Sunderland, who has convictions for 104 offences which include serious violence, pleaded guilty to assault and attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent.
Judge Tim Gittins sentenced him to five years behind bars, with an extended licence period of three years.
The judge told Watson, who has been assessed as "dangerous" before: "I am satisfied, at the moment, you remain a dangerous offender."
Judge Gittins told him: "You lost complete self control, lost your temper, and having knocked him to the ground, kicked and stamped on him repeatedly, including that two-footed stamp on his head.
"When his partner tried to intervene you prevented her from coming to his aid and repeatedly punched her as well.
"He suffered gross serious bruising and swelling to his face and head, a broken nose and lacerations to his right eye.
"All of those are bad enough but the fact is, I hope you appreciate, he was fortunate you did not fracture his skull or indeed kill him.
"His partner was left with swelling and bruising to her face and body as well.
"You used a shod foot as a weapon, indeed both feet. You clearly intended to cause more serious injury"
Tony Cornberg, defending, said Watson was the victim to two violent street attacks after his last release from his last prison sentence and feared a "third incident" at the pub that night.
Mr Cornberg said Watson has worked hard while in custody on remand and made "significant progress"to address deep rooted problems, including alcohol abuse, that he has had since childhood and plans to make a "fresh start" away from Sunderland when he is released.
Mr Cornberg added: "He has proved it is never too late to change."