A MAN who teamed up with a friend to beat up a 62-year-old in a pub has walked free from court despite a criminal record of 48 offences.

Adam O’Connor avoided being sent to prison at Oxford Crown Court yesterday, while Julian Pitts was jailed for four years for his role in the attack at the Red Lion, in Kidlington.

The pair “caused mayhem” in the pub in April 2009 as locals protecting Roger ‘Dickie’ Rowlands fended off the attackers with barstools.

A jury convicted O’Connor, 29, of wounding with intent, affray and having an offensive weapon in July. Pitts, 36, was convicted of wounding with intent and having an offensive weapon, having earlier admitted affray.

The pair were living together in Banbury Road, Kidlington, at the time of the offence, which saw O’Connor drunkenly strike Mr Rowlands with a metre-long spirit level before Pitts hit him on the head with a hammer.

Mr Rowlands lost consciousness and needed four staples in a head wound. The court heard he now “suffers from mood swings, sleeplessness and has headaches on a daily basis”.

Pitts has 34 previous convictions for 98 offences. He was jailed in 2004 for a burglary and two robberies in which he brandished a hammer and an iron bar.

O’Connor has 27 convictions for 48 offences, “overwhelmingly for theft and dishonesty”, the court heard yesterday.

Just days before committing the pub attack he was given a community order for an ABH offence.

Clare Fraser, defending O’Connor, said: “His previous offending was driven by addiction to heroin and crack but for the last 17 months or longer he’s portrayed himself as a different man. He has not used drugs since January 2009.

“He’s in a relationship with a young lady of good character, who doesn’t drink and doesn’t do drugs.

“He seems to have got himself sorted.”

Pitts, representing himself, said: “Everybody sees me as a large man and everybody treats me as such, when in fact I come from a complex background and I’m a complex person. Really, when people get to know me I’m a nice chap and unfortunately I seem to go around with the wrong crowd.”

A psychiatric report said Pitts had mental health difficulties but was not suitable for a hospital order.

Passing sentence, Judge Julian Hall said Pitts’ hammer caused the injury and O’Connor’s spirit level was actually “feather light”.

Giving O’Connor a three-year supervision order and four-month curfew, he said: “The appropriate sentence would have been in the order of two, maybe two-and-a-half years.

“But one of the objects of a prison sentence is to reform somebody. It seems to me, because the case has taken so long to come on, you’ve had the chance to reform yourself before it came to trial.”