A FATHER of three from Worcester with a “horrendous” criminal record has been handed two suspended prison sentences for attacking a man in the Lowesmoor area of the city.

Joseph Stephens, of The Hopmarket, appeared at Worcester Magistrates’ Court on Monday, July 21, after previously admitting assaulting Stephen Booth on Monday, November 25, last year.

Clare Linehan, defending, told the court Mr Booth was in the Lowesmoor area during the evening when he was set upon by two men and a woman.

“He remembered being punched to the face and kicked to the head,” she said.

“The next thing he could remember was waking up in hospital.”

She said Stephens, a landscape gardener and father of three, had accused Mr Booth of “spreading gossip” about him.

Sam Lamsdale, defending, said Mr Booth suffered what she described as “quite shocking” head injuries.

She told the court Stephens, who has an extensive criminal record, punched Mr Booth because he refused to apologise about the alleged gossip.

“He felt he was acting in self-defence,” she said.

“Mr Booth fell to the ground and got back up and Mr Stephens punched him again.”

She said the other man and woman had tried to continue to attack Mr Booth while he was on the ground, but Stephens had told them to stop.

“It’s a serious offence and he fully accepts that.”

The court also heard in carrying out the attack Stephens had breached a 12-month conditional discharge he was handed on Tuesday, March 18, for an incident of battery earlier the same month.

Chairman of the bench John Taylor described Stephens’ criminal record as “horrendous”.

“You resort to your fists before you use your mouth,” he said. “You have to learn to listen.”

He was sentenced to two 12-week concurrent prison sentences, suspended for 12 months, as well as 12 weeks of supervision including 180 hours of unpaid work and a requirement to attend ten anger management classes.

He was also ordered to pay £150 compensation to Mr Booth as well as £300 costs and an £80 victim surcharge.