A pensioner who refused to pay part of the bill for having a electric gates installed at his home near Lydney was beaten up by the angry contractor.

Jake Griffiths, 31, of Almond Walk, Lydney, punched Michael Howells on the jaw and then hit him on the top of the head as he staggered and fell, Gloucester Crown Court was told.

Griffiths then picked Mr Howells up and ‘shoved’ him against the side of his van, telling him: “I’m going to ******* terrorise you and your family now.”

Mr Howells, whose age was given to the court as ‘at least 66,’ went to Lydney Hospital where he had tests including an Electroencephologram (EEG) brain scan and was treated for a nose bleed, and bruising and marks to the head, chest, elbow and forearm, said prosecutor Alban Brahimi.

He said the incident followed between Mr Howells and Griffiths over payment of the final £1,000 of a £5,000 bill for the installation of electronic gates.

The dispute had been going on for 15 months before the attack happened on September 20 2022, said Mr Brahimi.

Griffiths pleaded guilty to assaulting Mr Howells causing him actual bodily harm and was sentenced to 10 months jail suspended for a year. He was also ordered to pay Mr Howells £1,000 compensation for his injuries, costs of £425 and a £114 surcharge.

In addition he was ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work for the community.

Judge Rupert Lowe told him: “Mr Howells paid you £4,000 but there was then a dispute about the quality of the work because the gates didn’t function properly.

“Mr Howells withheld the last £1,000 requiring you to fix it, which you didn’t.

“He demanded the money and you demanded that the gates be fixed.

“When adults in a civilised society have a dispute about money and contracts, if they cannot resolve it they go to mediation or the county court to get a judgement. They don’t start beating each other up, which is what you have done.

“I have seen some texts from you which give a sense of the tone of the discussion between you and Mr Howells.”

The judge quoted one text which said “Mike, I’m surprised you are a coward and you won’t talk to me. I will be seeing you.”

That, said the judge, had a ‘slightly threatening tone.’

In reply, Mr Howells texted: “We have been nothing but decent and patient with you. Would you have been happy if you had paid £4,000 and then waited 15 months for a professional service, which is still not complete?”

Judge Lowe said Griffiths texted back: “You owe me £1,000.  See you soon. £1,000. It is not going away.”

Again, said the judge, that tone was threatening.

“You were being difficult and threatening and Mr Howells was trying to be reasonable,” said Judge Lowe.

He said Mr Howells then drove to Griffiths’ home and quickly the dispute became violent.

“You, in your fury, told him you wanted your ******* money and you punched him in the face.  This caused him to stagger and then you punched him again, on the top of his head.  You then picked him up and dragged him and leant him up against his vehicle, saying ‘******* look at you now, you old s***. I’m going to terrorise you and your family.’

“It looks as if you value the law of the jungle rather than the law of the land.

“This was a nasty cowardly attack on a man twice your age because you couldn’t control your temper.”

Rose Glanville, defending, said the dispute between the two men had ‘gone sour’ and Griffiths had become distressed about the outstanding £1,000 payment because it was a lot of money to him at a difficult time.

Mr Howells had arrived at Griffiths’ home early in the morning when his pregnant wife was there with their children, she said.

“He asked his client to come and speak to him in his garage and there was then a heated discussion. The complainant was alleging shoddy work. The parties prodded one another and shoved one another and there was a scuffle. “

But the judge commented “He was not a proper businessman. He was a thug.  He thinks if there is a dispute he can punch people.”

Ms Glanville said Griffiths was ‘hugely regretful and remorseful’ for his actions. He could not believe he had behaved the way he did that day, she said.

An immediate jail sentence would have a huge impact on the family as he is the sole wage earner and has two children aged four and 18 months and is responsible for the livelihood of his two employees, she added.