A MAN who kicked a vulnerable victim in the head has been jailed.

Stephen Paxton also pushed a worker for the homeless who tried to intervene during the attack, York Crown Court heard.

Anne Richardson, prosecuting, said one of the staff at the Changing Lives hostel for the homeless saw Paxton punch one of its clients and kick him as he lay on the ground at lunchtime on September 11. When an employee intervened and remonstrated with Paxton, the 42-year-old with a long record of convictions for violence, pushed him to the ground.

After watching a video of the incident in the car park outside the hostel in Union Terrace, York, the Recorder of York, Judge Sean Morris, said Paxton was “lucky” not to have committed a murder.

“Kicking people to the head can easily kill them,” he said.

“I have lost count of the number of times I have seen videos of people kicking other people in the head. It means an immediate prison sentence.”

Paxton, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to affray and was jailed for 19 months.

Defence barrister Laura Addy, repeating Paxton’s account of his time on remand awaiting trial, said: “He has had Covid twice while in custody.”

She claimed he had also been badly assaulted in jail and that he had physical and mental health problems.

When he was remanded, he had been taking Subutex, a heroin substitute, after managing to conquer a methadone addiction.

But the prison authorities had changed his prescription to methadone.

He was also worried about where he would live on release as he had lost his Tang Hall accommodation.

A York jury acquitted Paxton of causing grievous bodily harm with intent in a separate incident in a three-day trial.

They heard from the alleged victim and from Paxton, who told them he was not in the alleged victim’s house when he was assaulted. The jury heard police found a jacket in the house that did not belong to the alleged victim.