AN Alnwick man racially attacked a pizza delivery driver, challenging him to a fight and threatening to kill him, a court heard.
Jonathan Mallan, from Howling Lane, hurled racist abuse at Ali Mogahaddam and laid into him in two separate assaults, leaving his victim with facial injuries.
The 39-year-old, who had been drinking, hit Mr Mogahaddam with a flurry of punches inside the food preparation area of the town’s Pizza Royale before later assaulting him in the street.
The incidents, which occurred on May 29 last year, were sparked by Mallan knocking Mr Mogahaddam’s car door.
Mallan pleaded guilty to an assault by beating and a racially/religiously aggravated common assault/beating and at South East Northumberland Magistrates’ Court on Monday, he was ordered to serve both a community and supervision order, each for 12 months, and told he must fork out £250 compensation for his victim.
Alan Turner, prosecuting, told the court that Mr Mogahaddam had returned to the shop and his car door was open.
He saw two or three men walking towards it and told them to watch their step, but the door was knocked and the males started laughing.
Mr Turner said that Mallan then went into the Clayport Street takeaway where Mr Mogahaddam worked and ‘started shouting’ and using ‘racially offensive language’, adding “I come to the Hot Bite and kill you.”
The court heard that Mallan challenged his victim to a fight, adding ‘if you come out I will sort you out’, before entering the shop’s food preparation area and ‘threw punches with both hands’ to Mr Mogahaddam’s face.
Staff came to the victim’s aid and several people tried to calm down Mallan.
The second assault happened shortly after, when Mr Mogahaddam returned from another delivery.
Mr Turner said that Mallan came out of the shop and pushed Mr Mogahaddam, challenging him to a fight in an alleyway.
The court heard that the defendant punched his victim ‘twice to the face’ before landing a blow to the stomach area which knocked Mr Mogahaddam to the ground, ‘leaving him breathless and drowsy’.
Mr Mogahaddam was taken to Wansbeck General Hospital with bruising, swelling and cuts to his face.
He wanted his attacker to pay compensation for 18 hours’ loss of earnings, a £50 taxi fare from the hospital to his home address and damage to his clothes.
Mr Turner added: “This was a sustained attack on a victim who was at work at the time and it was a racially-aggravated attack.”
But David Auld, defending, said that Mallan had a different account and was ‘adamant’ that it was an abusive Mr Mogahaddam who sparked the assaults.
Mr Auld told the court that his client bumped into the car door and had apologised but then ‘got a load of abuse and verbals’ from the victim who was ‘going off it’ – a response which left Mallan ‘shocked’ and ‘gobsmacked’.
Mr Auld said this ‘triggered off events’ adding: “When you have had some alcohol your judgement goes awry. If he hadn’t had alcohol that day he wouldn’t have reacted the way he did. He is very sorry for what has happened. It was completely out of character.
“He has known the Pizza Royale lads for 20 years and gets on with them. It wasn’t the usual lads working there that night but the defendant said he gets on well with them too.”
The case had been adjourned for a pre-sentence report and Mr Auld said that magistrates would be ‘quite impressed’ by what they read.
He added that there was ‘a fistful of letters’ which told of his client’s good character and one of the shop’s co-owners, as well as three other Pizza Royale employees, had spoken in favour of Mallan.
Mr Auld added: “We are dealing with a man who has got a good reputation and is not known to get into trouble.”
Mallan had originally denied the offences but changed his pleas to guilty on the day of his trial.
He was also ordered to pay £85 court costs.