A man has been jailed after he stamped on a vulnerable victim in an unprovoked attack.
Darren Yates repeatedly punched the man in the head after jumping out of his car in Seaham on 20 July.
The victim had been sitting on a bench at the time and fell to the floor unconscious as Yates continued to stamp and punch him.
Judge James Adkin branded the assault "brutal" and cowardly".
Durham Crown Court heard the victim, who had suffered brain injuries following a heart attack in 2019, was taken to hospital where he was treated for a brain contusion, potential haemorrhage, abrasions, bruising and swelling to the scalp and lip.
The victim was left afraid to go out on his own and also has trouble sleeping, the court heard.
Officers identified Yates on CCTV in the vicinity and arrested him at his home address later that evening. He has been remanded in custody since.
The 39-year-old, of Essex Crescent, Seaham, admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
Yates, who has 27 convictions for 57 offences, was sentenced to an extended determinate sentence, with a six-year custodial element, of which the defendant must serve two-thirds before being eligible for release by the Parole Board.
On his release he will also be subject to an extended licence period of three years.
Police constable Ashley Hagar, of Durham Police, said: “This was a ruthless attack on a vulnerable victim, leaving him hospitalised with serious injuries.
“I am glad that he will be spending a significant amount of time in prison, where he belongs. He has rightly been classed as a dangerous offender and I hope that he is able to reflect on his actions and understand how shocking his behaviour was.
“The victim has been immensely brave throughout the whole process and we hope he can now start to rebuild his life.”
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