A VIOLENT lout barely escaped jail for a sustained attack on a stranger in his 60s.

Judge Jonathan Seely said Marc Bryan was a thug with “primitive” views, but decided to suspend his six-month jail term for two years, only because he showed contrition at the last moment at Chelmsford Crown Court

Bryan, who has 16 previous convictions for 24 offences, had set upon the victim in Clacton High Street, seemingly mistaking him for someone else.

He rained down a flurry of punches and knocked out five teeth.

Bryan admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The incident happened in March 2018, but despite the delay, Judge Seely said Bryan had come desperately close to being jailed and criticised his behaviour towards probation officers.

“This was a sustained and repeated assault,” he said.

“You seem to have some twisted and primitive views and think the way to go about life and resolve disputes is through violence.

“He was well into his 60s and old enough to be your father.

“Your were drunk but it is no excuse, if anything it is an aggravating factor.

“The only reason you are not going to prison is your reaction when I have been talking.

“You are engaging and it shows me something.”

Stephen Levy, mitigating, said Bryan, 37, had completely turned his life around since the attack by finding work and getting back in touch with his son.

“He was sleeping on the streets, taking drugs and drinking alcohol,” he said.

“He regrets what he did but he is a different person now.”

Bryan, of Rosebury Gardens, Upminster, must also complete 150 hours of unpaid work and 25 rehabilitation days.

He was also handed a three month curfew banning him from going out between 8pm and 5am.