A thug punched and kicked a vulnerable homeless man outside York Station in a "disgraceful" attack.

The victim told police Damen Anthony Metcalfe had “targeted homeless people” before so when he saw him on March 21, he tried to avoid him, said Gareth Henderson Moore, prosecuting.

But he was unable to prevent Metcalfe, 35, from punching his face, kicking him in the back, forcing him to the ground and when the homeless man got up, pushing him over again and kicking him “forcefully” in the chest.

Metcalfe then walked off, leaving the victim with a bruised eye and pain in his chest and on the top of his head.

“He is not responsible for any of that at all,” Judge Simon Hickey told Metcalfe, whose actions he called “disgraceful".

At one point during the attack, Metcalfe had walked away and come back before landing a heavy kick on the victim’s chest.

The judge said the attack had “humiliated” the victim because he had had to clean himself up without the use of a washroom or privacy until police arranged for him to go to some toilets.

He added the homeless man was clearly vulnerable because he had no home. “He was trying to mind his own business. He tried to get out of your way,” he told Metcalfe.

Metcalfe, of Rosemary Court, Easingwold, pleaded guilty to causing the victim actual bodily harm. He has a long history of violence, mostly low-level, starting when he was a juvenile.

His barrister Lily Wildman said alcohol was the main cause of his offending and that he had already started efforts to cut back on his drinking.

She quoted a probation officer’s report that concluded that Metcalfe had reached the point where if he accessed the right support from various agencies, his offending would reduce, whereas prison would risk him returning to regular offending.

The judge said Metcalfe’s crimes merited a 10-month prison sentence but if he was made to serve it, he would spend a maximum of five months inside.

“I will give you a chance, but it is a very, very difficult decision,” he told Metcalfe.

He suspended the 10-month term for 18 months on condition Metcalfe wears an alcohol abstinence tag for 120 days and does 15 days’ rehabilitative activities. Metcalfe must also pay the victim £200 compensation. The tag will sound the alert if Metcalfe has any alcohol.

“(The victim) really needs money, although it is tainted money from the man who attacked him,” said the judge.

He warned Metcalfe if he commits any crime in the next 18 months, he could be made to serve the 10 months.

Mr Henderson Moore said the homeless man had been trying to keep warm by spending time in the station's waiting rooms.  He was leaving the station before security staff moved him on when he saw Metcalfe.