A car wash worker has been ordered to pay compensation to a stranger who was attacked as he crossed the Barnstaple Longbridge.

Constantin Dimitriu was out with two other men when their group exchanged words with a local man and some friends who were on their way home from a night out.

The victim of the attack moved forwards saying ‘I’ll bang all three of you out’ but came off worse in the ensuing fight. He ended up with a suspected broken nose and battered face after being punched and kicked.

Dimitriu, aged 20, from Barnstaple, admitted affray and was sentenced for six months, suspended for a year, and ordered to pay £700 compensation and £250 costs.

He was also ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid community work and 10 days of rehabilitation activities by Judge Peter Johnson at Exeter Crown Court.

Andrei Buga, aged 23, and Ionut Stan, aged 23, both of Barnstaple, also admitted affray and will be sentenced later.

The judge told Dimitriu: “You were a man of good character until you pleaded guilty to this affray which took place when you were with two friends and had been drinking in Barnstaple.

“You were walking back when the other man, who was ahead of you, exchanged words. It is difficult to see what the issue was but he may have misunderstood what was being said.

“He made threats and said he would bang all three of you out, right here, right now. It was a challenge accepted by the others who were with you.

“He aimed the first blow and while you may have acted initially in self-defence, it rapidly became something unlawful. He was repeatedly struck when on the ground and there were kicks, although not by you.

“It is clear his challenge was a very unwise one indeed and he ended up battered and bruised.”

Bathsheba Cassel, prosecuting, said the fight happened on the Old Bridge in Barnstaple on April 7 last year as all involved were walking home from nights out.

She said the victim suffered a suspected broken nose and heavy facial bruising. He had to take time off work and made an impact statement saying he is now wary about going out and avoids the area near the bridge.

Emily Pitts, defending, said Dimitriu did not start the violence and played a lesser part than his two friends.