South Shields man who punched woman intervening in row tells judge 'I just need some help'

A man who punched a woman in the face after she tried to step in and intervene during a row with his girlfriend has kept his freedom.

Gavin Thomas, 37, was out in South Shields in August when the violent outburst took place.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that Thomas had been in argument with his partner when he was pushed in the back by the victim.

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Judge Edward Bindloss said: "You were out on King Street in South Shields on the 31st of August.

Newcastle Crown Court.

"It was quite clear from the (CCTV) footage that you were arguing with your partner.

"The complainant came and pushed you in the back and you turned and punched her once to the ground."

The court heard that the push came as a "shock" to Thomas, which led to him lashing out.

The woman had become involved to stop him from getting into an altercation with his partner, the hearing was told.

The victim sustained a lump to the head, bruising to her face, and blurred vision as a result of the incident but did not provide an impact statement.

Thomas, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to assault causing actual bodily harm during a previous hearing.

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In mitigation, it was heard that he had previously been employed.

The court also heard that he had suffered trauma growing up after his mother was murdered.

Judge Bindloss told Thomas he was willing to give him a chance.

He imposed a 12-month community order with 80 hours of unpaid work.

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After learning of his fate, Thomas told the judge from the dock: "I just need some help. Thank you."