Sunderland brothers attacked victims in families feud after row over horse

Newcastle Crown Court
Newcastle Crown Court

Two men suffered head wounds when violence erupted between two feuding families in Sunderland following a row over a horse.

Trouble started between the two sides after a group of girls fell out about the way a tethered horse at a grassed area in Sunderland was being petted, leading to accusations of mistreatment.

Newcastle Crown Court heard a confrontation between men from opposing sides of the argument led to violence and injury.

Prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw told the court brothers Thomas and Michael Hackett turned up outside the home of their rivals and launched an attack on two men.

The court heard Thomas Hackett caused £375 damage to a car belonging to one of the men.

The court heard one of the brothers was armed but it is unclear which one had the weapon or what exactly it was.

Mr Wardlaw added: "One man was attacked, hit to the head from behind and while on the ground repeatedly kicked.

"The other went to his assistance, by pulling him away from the two defendants .

"He was also attacked and knocked to the ground, where the attack continued. Kicks were being directed towards him."

The court heard one of the men suffered two wounds to his head and abrasions to his shoulder and arm. The other had a single wound to his head and abrasions to his knees, elbows and back.

Both men needed hospital treatment after the incident in July 2014.

Thomas Hackett, 23, of Fordenbridge Square, Sunderland, admitted criminal damage and affray.

Michael Hackett, 28, of Hylton Road, Sunderland, admitted affray.

Matthew Crowe, defending, said: "This is two families that were feuding."

The court heard both men have stayed away from any trouble in the two-and-a-half years since the incident.

Thomas Hackett has three minor previous convictions. Michael Hackett has never been in trouble before.

Judge Jeremy Freedman sentenced both men to a community order with 150 hours unpaid work.

The judge told them: "This was a disgraceful incident, you both know that.

"You both behaved in an aggressive and violent manner and they both suffered very nasty head injuries."

Judge Freedmanw said a prison sentence centre may have been appropriate for both men, had the case got to court in a reasonable time.

The judge said both men were now "getting on with your lives".

Prosecutors could give no explanation for the two-and-a-half year delay for the case to be dealt with.