South Shields man left victim unconscious after single-punch attack outside McDonald’s branch

An attacker who left a man unconscious with a single punch after a misunderstanding in McDonald’s has kept his freedom.

Brandon Reay and his victim, who did not know each other but had spoken earlier in the night, ended up in the Grainger Street branch of the takeaway in Newcastle in the early hours of the morning.

Newcastle Crown Court heard their chat was friendly until Reay thought he had been told to "**** off", which the other man denied.

Prosecutor Neil Pallister told the court: "He said the defendant became very aggressive and was trying to show off. He removed his shirt and started shouting 'come outside' and tried to get him outside to fight.

The case was heard at Newcastle Crown Court.

"The complainant said he tried to avoid a confrontation and apologised if he had offended him and said he would go outside to talk. He went outside and the next thing he recalls is being on the ground with a police officer over him.

"He said his head hurt and his chin was bleeding. He thinks he lost consciousness. In his statement he says 'This has made me feel powerless andfrightened'."

The court heard the victim was not seriously injured

Police viewed CCTV from McDonald's, which showed Reay step forward and punch the victim once in the face, knocking him out.

When he was arrested at the scene, he admitted responsibility.

Reay, 23, of Wear Court, South Shields, who has a previous conviction for drunk and disorderly, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and was sentenced to a community order with 100 hours unpaid work and must pay £500 compensation, £500 costs and must do a thinking skills programme.

Mr recorder Jonathan Sandiford QC told him: "Whatever went before it, he was not expecting you to strike him in the way you did and was taken completely by surprise.

"It's the potential, as unfortunately sometimes happens, for a person caught unawares in this way to smash their head on the pavement and you could have been facing a manslaughter charge."

Nick Cartmell, defending, said Reay has work as a fork lift truck driver and added: "It was a single punch, the seriousness is what might have happened."