A man who punched a complete stranger in a Lisburn B&Q store whilst drunk has avoided jail.
John Rainey (48), of Princes Street, Lurgan had approached the fellow customer and challenged him to a fight before striking him on the head on January 26.
The defendant pleaded guilty to charges of using disorderly behaviour and assaulting a man.
Police were tasked to the store in Sprucefield following a report that a man had assaulted a customer and been abusive to staff.
It was added that the defendant had approached the man and offered him a fight before hitting him on the head once.
Lisburn Magistrates’ Court heard that Rainey did not know the man he had assaulted and afterwards, he shouted abuse at staff in the store.
A defending solicitor told the court that his client had finally managed to secure employment after several years.
The defence solicitor said: “He started his new job on Monday after being out of work for a very long period.
“He is very sorry for what he has done.”
District Judge Rosie Watters highlighted how the pre-sentence report considered Rainey as a high risk of re-offending.
Defence said that Rainey had problem with alcohol and his son had died six months ago.
Judge Watters added: “I accept there was tragic circumstances.”
Judge Watters told him:“You are dealing with your mental health issues, it is always good to have a job. Maybe you had too much time on your hands.
“It was probably a horrible experience for the stranger you attacked.
“I can understand if people think I should send you to prison. But, baring everything in mind, you have been out of trouble for quite some time.”
She sentenced him to five months on each offence, which was suspended for two years and £200 compensation was imposed.