Pensioner beaten with his walking stick

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TWO thugs who beat a 65-year-old man with his own walking stick have been jailed for two years.

James Ball and Gavin Wilkinson attacked their victim as he enjoyed a night out in Chester-le-Street town centre, Durham Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Paul Newcombe said the victim and one of his attackers had previously had a dispute.

Mr Newcombe added: “The victim was in the Bridge pub in Market Place when Ball approached and mentioned the previous incident.

“Ball formed the opinion the victim had been trying to ‘pull’ his girlfriend, although the girlfriend was spoken to later and knew nothing of it.

“Outside the pub, Wilkinson punched the victim to the head.

“Ball hit him with the walking stick so hard it snapped.

“Wilkinson appeared with a length of wood and hit the victim with it.”

The court heard the victim suffered extensive bruising to his upper body and a gash to the head which was treated with staples.

Ball, 24, of Wilfred Street, Chester-le-Street, and Wilkinson, 22, of Sandyford Place, Pelton, each admitted unlawful wounding on February 22.

Both have previous convictions for offences of violence and public disorder.

Lawyers said each was sorry and wanted to put the offence behind them.

Judge Les Spittle said: “This was serious violence by what can only be described as a pair of thugs.”