A thug who beat up a homeless man after he refused to share his can of lager has been spared jail.
Gareth Metcalfe, who has previous convictions for robbery, assault and battery, attacked the vulnerable man outside a convenience store in Stockton .
Teesside Crown Court heard the 38-year-old drug user had lost his temper after the homeless man – who was drinking from a can of Foster’s lager – refused to give him a sip.
CCTV footage from the Dovecot Street store was played in court and showed Metcalfe punching the man who then drops to the floor.
Harry Hatfield, prosecuting, told the court: “He may have been knocked out.”
The homeless man suffered bruising and swelling to his cheek and eye.
“He said he doesn’t feel safe anymore,” said Mr Hadfield.”
Metcalfe, of Leybourne Terrace in Stockton, pleaded guilty to the March 29 attack and breaching a suspended sentence order.
This was given at the same court in February for a brutal two-day attack on his girlfriend of the time.
Before the attack, which took place over October 16 and 17 last year, he had seemed calm, before demanding she give him money, the court had heard.
But he then repeatedly beat her over the two days.
Metcalfe was given a 15-month jail sentence for that assault, suspended for two years, and the restraining order against his victim was extended for a further two years.
The court heard on Friday that he had 35 previous convictions including assaulting a police officer.
Nigel Soppitt, defending, said Metcalfe had recently lost his son in a tragic car accident, but was showing “stability” in his rehabilitation.
He said it would be “unfortunate to destroy that stability” with a prison term.
Judge Peter Armstrong spared Metcalfe an immediate custodial sentence.
He told him: “You have a poor record for offences of violence and, but for the gaps in it, it could be said you’re a regular thug.”
But he said Metcalfe had handled the recent tragic events in his life in a “mature” way and had not used them as an excuse to resort to substance misuse.
“It has been said you have made huge strides and made positive changes to your life,” he added.
Metcalfe received a three-month community order with a curfew between 10am and 7am and was ordered to pay £150 compensation to his victim.
He also had five more rehabilitation activity requirement days added to his suspended sentence.