A DRUNKEN thug punched an elderly man to the ground before booting him in the ribs during a “graphic” display of violence, a court has heard.

Ronald Carter, 23, had been walking in the carriageway of a busy Christchurch road on June 11 last year as part of an attempt to commit suicide.

His victim, who was driving along the road, was forced to come to a stop to avoid hitting the defendant. He beeped at Carter to warn him of the danger.

In CCTV and dash cam footage shown to the court, the victim, 80, got out of his car and two became involved in a row. The victim then swung for Carter and the defendant lashed out, punching the older man to the ground before kicking him in the chest.

Prosecuting at Bournemouth Crown Court, Stuart Ellacott said: “The victim was driving down Fairmile Road heading out of Christchurch just past the hospital at around 1.15pm.

“The vehicle in front came to a stop.

“It turned out that the defendant was in fact walking in the road with his back to traffic.

“He was walking along holding traffic up.”

Video from a council-owned camera and a dash cam installed in the car travelling behind the victim’s vehicle were then shown to the court.

The victim was rushed to Royal Bournemouth Hospital suffering from a suspected rib fracture, as well as cuts and bruises. His injuries required an overnight stay and he was left unable to drive, do the ironing or work in the garden for some time afterwards.

Nicholas Robinson, mitigating for Carter, said the defendant didn’t realise his victim’s age “because of his appearance”.

“He doesn’t appear to be 80, he is a fit man who gets out of the car in an agile way and throws the first punch,” Mr Robinson said.

“My client’s hands are behind his back at the outset.”

He said Carter, of Denmark Road in Bournemouth, suffers from “chronic anxiety and depression, chronic pessimism, chronic suicidal ideas”.

“He was hell-bent on self-destruction,” Mr Robinson said.

Both of the defendant’s parents were addicted to drugs, and his mother had died not long before the incident, the court heard.

Carter, who admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm, has 25 convictions for 43 offences, it was heard.

Judge Peter Johnson said the defendant was “heavily in drink” at the time of the attack.

“The victim in this case was a vulnerable man going about his lawful business,” he said.

“You have seen graphic CCTV showing exactly what you have done.

“It makes shocking viewing.”

Carter was sentenced to 12 months in prison. He will be released at the halfway point, after which he will be the subject of a 12-month licence with supervision.