A MAN who attacked his brother’s friend over a £20 debt has narrowly escaped jail.
Lee Butler’s older brother Michael had owed the man the cash – which was for a crate of beer – for 10 weeks.
After the victim went to 31-year-old Michael’s ex-girlfriend’s house to collect his money, the siblings decided to pay him a visit.
When they got to his home, Lee, 25, launched into a series of kicks and punches on the man.
While he was on the floor Michael Butler joined in, punching him at least four times.
They admitted a joint charge of common assault at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.
Sentencing Lee Butler, of Renfrew Road, Red House, chairman of the bench Russell Hewitson said: “You took a leading role in this, and we considered a sentence of imprisonment”.
However, magistrates gave him a 12-month community order and 150 hours’ unpaid work.
He was also ordered to pay the victim £125 in compensation and £200 court costs.
Michael Butler, of Newmarket Walk, South Shields, was also given a 12-month community order.
Mark Richardson, defending, said: “Michael Butler went to have a word with the man about the way he tried to get the money back.”
He added: “There was some aggro and his brother accepts he overreacted.”