A MAN assaulted three members of the same family after launching an unprovoked attack on a teenager, a court has heard.

Ben Derek Shields (30) of Berwick Lane, Ovingham, appeared at South East Northumberland Magistrates' Court on Wednesday for sentencing after previously pleading guilty to assaulting two brothers, including one minor, and their father on May 30 in Prudhoe.

The men cannot be identified for legal reasons.

The court heard that one of the victims had seen Shields lying on some grass whilst walking home, and as he’d walked past, Shields shouted at him.

Prosecuting, James Long said: “Events started with an assault on one brother. He was heading home when he saw the defendant lying on the grass. The defendant appeared to have a bottle of vodka lying beside him.

“As the victim walked past, the defendant shouted ‘mug’ at him. The victim just said ‘right’ and continued to walk, but then got scared and began to run.

“He was running home and the defendant followed him. The defendant asked how old and where he lives, which frightened him more.”

The court then heard that Shields punched the victim on his left eye leaving a red mark. The victim ran the short distance home before the rest of the family came out.

Mr Long added: “The victim’s mother approached him and was a bit cross. She asked him if he gets kicks from hitting children.

“The defendant became aggressive and bounced on his feet and raised his hands in a boxing pose.”

Mr Long then explained that Shields threw a large number of punches at the three men, although very few connected.

Defending, Catherine Fowle pointed out Mr Shields had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and asked magistrates to agree to a recommendation set out in a report by the probation service.

Miss Fowle said: “The defendant made a timely guilty plea. I would invite you to take the recommendation in the report, which is unpaid work.

“This was a very unfortunate incident for all parties. Mr Shields was left on the grass and then confronted by three males and there was a further incident.

“He suffered his own injuries, but pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.”

Shields was given an 18-month community order with a requirement to complete 60 hours unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay a total of £210 in compensation to the victims, as well as costs of £50 and a victim surcharge of £95.