AN attacker who beat his flatmate with a pick-axe handle while horrified witnesses screamed for him to stop has been walked free from court.
Christopher Minchell was described as acting like a “mad man” when he lashed out at David Roberts after the long-term friends fell out over cash after the sale of a puppy.
Newcastle Crown Court heard violence flared in the garden of the property the pals shared last November in front of horrified onlookers.
Prosecutor Jolyon Perks told the court: “He repeatedly struck the complainant to the body, including blows which knocked him off of his feet and while off his feet he continued to hit him about the body with the handle.
“At one point witnesses who were present helped the complainant to his feet and he was then struck and put to the floor again.”
The court heard when Mr Roberts was knocked off his feet the second time he hit his head on a window ledge and caused a cut to his ear.
One witness told police: “He was like a mad man. I was frightened for what was going to happen to David.”
The court heard Mr Roberts had bruising and tenderness across his body.
Minchell, 25, of Brunswick Street, South Shields, admitted assault.
He told police he “just saw red”.
Judge Paul Sloan QC told him: “Witnesses speak of you continuing to strike him even once he was knocked down.
“It was witnessed by two women and even though they were screaming at you to stop you continued.
“On the face of it you intended to cause more harm than, fortunately, resulted from the blows you were striking with that weapon.”
Minchell was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with a three month night-time curfew and £250 costs.
Graeme Cook, defending, said Minchell has physical and mental health problems and a history of being bullied.
He does not have drink or drug problems.
Mr Cook added: “This was the final straw that broke the camel’s back.”