A GOOD Samaritan who went out to help a man involved in a car crash in the early hours ended up with a fractured cheekbone, a court heard.

John Williams had gone to investigate after a VW Passat was left badly damaged outside his home in Uppermill, Minshull Street Crown Court was told.

Within moments he saw Dean Cheetham, said prosecutor Huw Edwards, with what appeared to be injuries sustained in the collision.

Cheetham told him the driver had fled and he too started to walk away, which concerned Mr Williams, the court heard.

Mr Edwards said Mr Williams began recording Cheetham on his mobile, until the other man noticed and demanded his phone.

He pushed Mr Williams, the court heard causing, who was challenging him about why he was walking away from the crash scene.

The householder continued to film Cheetham, who ran towards him, the court was told, causing Mr Williams to stumble to the floor.

Cheetham punched him, causing his glasses to break.

Mr Edwards said the phone had fallen from his grasp but as he grabbed hold of the device to retrieve it, Cheetham prised his fingers away and took it, before walking away.

The court heard that the police had been alerted by Mr Williams' wife and later the other man, who had injuries consistent with being involved in a car crash, was arrested elsewhere in the village.

Mr Edwards said Cheetham was taken to the Royal Oldham Hospital for reatment and Mr Williams to Tameside General Hospital.

Later it was found that Mr Williams had suffered a suspected fractured cheekbone. Fifteen months on from the incident, he told police his jaw still clicked. His wife was also "very nervous" when cars passed late at night.

Interviewed about the matter by police, Cheetham said he was "disorientated" after the crash and claimed Mr Williams had rushed up to him.

He accepted he had grabbed Mr Williams' phone but initially insisted he had been acting in self-defence. The phone had been thrown over a wall as he walked off, the court heard.

Mark Fireman, defending, said the incident was "out of character" for his client, a father-of-three who worked as a development officer but had now been furloughed.

Cheetham, of Deepdale, Oldham, pleaded guilty to assault. An alternative charge of robbery, which he had denied, was ordered to lie on the file.

He was given a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, with 200 hours community service and five rehabilitation activity days. He must also pay Mr Williams £2,000 compensation.

Passing sentence, Judge Tina Landale described the attack on Mr Williams by Cheetham, who had been drinking, as "despicable".

The judge added: "He was only trying to help you, acting as a Good Samaritan in the middle of the night."

But Judge Landale accepted the defendant could be rehabilitated as the offence could be considered 'out of character'.