A thug beat up a group of schoolboys with an axe handle for playing knock-knock run on his front door, a court heard.
Steven Mynott, 42, pursued the children in the dark through his village before attacking them in a nearby field - leaving one bleeding so heavily from the head he thought it was raining.
He was spared jail at Cambridge Crown Court yesterday, Friday January 22, despite a judge telling him his actions could have had far worse consequences.
Suspending an 18-month sentence for two years, Judge Gareth Hawkesworth said: “Some young men were larking about as such young me often do and one decided it knock on your door and runaway and hide.
“They were not drunk or under the influence of drugs, just high on life.
“This was an attack with a number of aggravated features, you had no reason for acting the way you did, there’s no history of you being targeted.
“You acted without any hesitation or pause when they were defenceless.
“You could have fractured his skull or had his eye out.”
Mynott denied ABH and GBH on the basis he was acting in self-defence but was found guilty by a jury following a four-day trial.
The jury were told by prosecutor James Earle how Mynott was at home on January 24 last year when the group of four schoolboys knocked on his door as a practical joke, before running off.
He eventually caught up with them nearby, stargazing in a field, where they described him as visibly angry, shouting that he would smash and kick the boys’ heads in.
Mr Earle told how he then attacked one them from behind with a plank of wood, striking him on the head.
He was given 10 stitches after receiving a cut to his head and his friend who tried to stop the attack had to be treated in hospital for a fractured shoulder blade.
In an interview with the police, the victim said: “We were star-gazing and I saw a black figure come smashing out of the darkness.
“He hit me on the head. My friend was trying to put himself between the weapon and myself and he got hit in the shoulder. We ran back to my friend’s house.”
After the two boys were treated by an ambulance crew, the police were called and one of the boys’ friends directed the police to Mynott’s house.
Police searched the Mynott’s and found the axe handle used to attack the boys, with DNA matching one of the victims on it, the court previously heard.
Mynott claimed he had been startled when the boys knocked on his door, believing that he was being burgled.
Defending him, Sally Hobson said he lived with his elderly mother who he cares for and with his long-term partner who works as a nanny.
She added: “They don’t claim any kind of benefits in the family at all, they’re self-sufficient and he acts full-time as his mother’s carer.
“He is a man who is very unlikely to appear before this court again.
“He’s looked online at what prison is like and knows he would have to survive that.
“He appreciates that night his behaviour was out of order and the children would have felt particularly scared.”
Mynott, of Castle Camps, Cambs, was also ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid community an work and to pay £1250 in compensation to the two victims.