South Shields thug punched Metro worker and swung hammer at woman in 'disgusting' incident at station
A thug swung a hammer towards his former girlfriend then punched a worker during a shocking Metro station attack in front of shocked passengers.
Paul Kennedy lashed out with the weapon towards the woman on a platform "full of people", including children and teenagers, before she went and hid behind a uniformed employee on the station.
Newcastle Crown Court heard Kennedy "circled" the worker as he tried to protect the woman then punched him with force to the face.
The 34-year-old, of Beach Road, South Shields, South Tyneside, who has 86 previous convictions, pleaded guilty to having an offensive weapon and common assault but has been given a chance to keep his freedom.
Kennedy had been due to be sentenced for the offences today but Judge Robert Spragg deferred sentence until October to see if he can keep out of trouble and abide by current community orders he is on.
Judge Spragg said if Kennedy does not comply he faces a jail term and warned: "Be under no illusions, if you commit any further offences or fail to co-operate with the current orders you will be brought back earlier."
Prosecutor Andrew Walker told the court Kennedy first came to the attention of the worker at South Shields station when he refused to put out a cigarette he was smoking inside the interchange on August 1.
CCTV, which was played in court, captured Kennedy swing a hammer at his ex girlfriend when they got to the platform.It is unclear whether she was hit with the weapon and she did not make a statement to the police.
Mr Walker said: "There were a number of people, including at least three children who are clearly under the age of ten and two more children who appear to be teenagers and numerous adults."
The court heard the woman ran back into the station and hid behind the worker.
Mr Walker added: "She effectively hid behind him and he was caught in the middle of this situation.
"The defendant was clearly trying to get to her, he was circling around the worker, who was maintaining his position, trying to afford some sort of protection to her."
The court heard the woman was "clearly upset" as she hid behind the worker, who tried to calm Kennedy down.
Mr Walker added: "The defendant, without any warning, launched a very hard punch to the area of the worker's lower face. He felt immediate pain to his cheek and his jaw before the defendant walked off."
The worker said in a victim statement: "I think it is disgusting someone thinks they can assault anyone.
"I was only initially asking him to stop smoking, as it's prohibited. I was polite and gave no reason for him to be aggressive.
"I was approached by the female and I was trying to help her when he punched me for no reason.
"There was no reason for him to assault me."
Nicholas Lane, defending, said Kennedy, who was intoxicated and could not remember what he had done, was "thoroughly disgusted and ashamed" when he saw the CCTV footage of what he did.
Mr Lane added: "He has no excuses and doesn't put forward any for his behaviour towards his former partner or the employee of the Metro.
"All of his offending is underpinned by either use of alcohol or illicit substances."