Man carried out drunken attack on sleeping friend

The Advertiser Series: Durham Crown Court  told of attack which ended long-term friendship Durham Crown Court told of attack which ended long-term friendship

A MAN carried out an apparently motiveless attack on a long-term friend which began as he lay asleep following a lengthy drinking session.

Lee Randall entered the victim’s bedroom and punched him firmly in the face as he was sleeping, late on Friday, January 17.

Durham Crown Court heard that he then struck him several more times as the dazed victim attempted to fend off the blows.

Randall left the room and went to his own bedroom at the home the now former friends shared at the time, in Newton Aycliffe.

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said the shaken victim went to clean himself up before reporting the attack to police.

When officers arrived at the address, in Biscop Way, both men and a drinking companion were in the kitchen, all heavily inebriated.

Mr Dryden said the trio earlier consumer several litres of cider, plus a number of shots of whisky, during a lengthy drinking session.

The injured man was taken to hospital suffering lacerations to the lip and nose, plus a swollen jaw.

He returned for further treatment the following day when it was confirmed his nose was broken, requiring corrective surgery.

Randall was arrested but made no reply to police questioning.

Mr Dryden said although 35-year-old Randall has offences of violence on his record, virtually all were committed in his teenage years.

Randall, of Hatfield Road, Newton Aycliffe, admitted assault causing actual bodily harm.

Rod Hunt, mitigating, told the court: “It’s always sad hearing about violence between friends.

“The friendship developed from them both being homeless and then they lived at that address for six months.

“But things got more and more chaotic.

“At the time of the incident, the victim was drunk and the defendant was suffering an epileptic illness, not knowing how serious.

“He’s more recently met a new partner, away from the complainant, in Ferryhill.

“She’s a care worker and is clearly a beneficial influence on him, helping him lead a law-abiding lifestyle and cope with his illness.”

Mr Hunt added that despite the nature of the assault Randall remains on good terms with the victim’s brother.

Judge Brian Forster said: “It was an unpleasant offence, and difficult to understand.”

But, he added that it was a break in a relatively offence-free period in Randall’s life.

He imposed a four-month prison sentence, suspended for 15 months, and ordered him to pay £350 compensation.

An indefinite restraining order was drawn up forbidding him from trying to contact his former friend.

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