Former gang member Akim Birks punched a woman in the street – after starting an argument with her boyfriend.
The victim and her partner were walking in Meir, with a child in a pushchair, when they saw 20-year-old Birks in a group outside a shop.
Magistrates at North Staffordshire Justice Centre heard that one of the group started to make comments towards the victim’s partner before Birks became aggressive.
Prosecutor Emma Pickard said: “The victim recognised them – she said they had been part of a gang.
“One of the males was going on at her partner. The defendant then ran towards her partner saying, ‘I’m going to have you’. The defendant started to call her a ‘rat’ and a ‘slag’. He was shouting and swearing at her partner.
“The victim feared for the safety of the child in the pushchair so she pushed the defendant out of the way.
“From out of nowhere, the defendant drew his arm back and punched her in the face. She felt sick and dizzy.”
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Police arrested Birks, of Harrowby Road, Meir. He recalled verbally abusing the victim’s partner and said they did not get on. He pleaded guilty to a charge of assault by beating.
Tac Hussain, mitigating, said: “He accepts there is a history between him and the complainant’s partner. He accepts he made contact with the complainant. He felt she pushed him and he instinctively pushed her back to the face area. He says it was a push with a clenched fist.
“He is trying to put his past behind him. He no longer has associations with the gang he was associated with. He knows that to move forward he has to move past this gang culture.”
Magistrates handed Birks a 24-month community order with a 41-day rehabilitation activity requirement. He must pay £250 to the victim, plus £230 in court costs and charges.
Christopher Rushton, chairman of the bench, said: “This was a despicable incident. You assaulted a female with a clenched fist to the face. The consequences could have been much worse.”