A FORMER soldier punched his neighbour in a “strange” unprovoked last-night attack.
David Manson shouted at the man as he got out of a taxi in South Eldon Street, where they both lived at the time, just after midnight on March 24.
The 62-year-old asked him why he was getting out of a taxi at the time of night and, when the victim, who lived in the flat upstairs from him, told him it was none of his business, Manson lost his temper.
He pushed the other man against his front door and leaned on his neck with an arm before punching him three times in the head.
Manson, who has lived in the street for five years, pleaded guilty to assault at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
Paul Kennedy, defending, told the court the victim had moved into the street nine months before the attack took place, but the pair had never spoken.
He said: “Barring a few dirty looks towards each other, they have never spoken before.
“The victim didn’t retaliate because he said my client was getting on a bit and he recognised he isn’t very mobile.
“He has now moved out while the defendant is still in the street and has never had any problems with anyone else.
“It is very strange and was over and done with in a flash. It is totally out of character for him.”
Mr Kennedy said that the police offered Mason, who was stationed in Germany with the Army, where he was a driver, a caution when he was arrested, but until he arrived at court had strenuously denied the attack.
He added: “Again, it is strange. Only he knows why he denied it when that would have avoided him having to come to court.
“He is deeply ashamed to be here and has had sleepless nights thinking about it.”
Glenda Beck, prosecuting, said: “The taxi driver who dropped the victim off said he heard Manson shout at his neighbour about getting a taxi so late.
“He said it had nothing to do with him, which seemed to enrage Manson who said he was going to smack him.
“The defendant followed the other man to his front door then pressed his arm across his chest and neck and punched him three times in the head.”
Magistrates fined Manson £73 and ordered him to pay £20 compensation to the victim, £85 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.