AN estranged son returned to his old family home after an absence of two years and launched a savage and unprovoked attack on his father, who thought he was going to die.

Ashley Grimstead, a former Wellington resident, held a grudge against his 76-year-old father Michael and launched the assault after turning up at his home on Valentine’s Day this year.

He pushed his father’s partner to the floor as he barged his way into the house and then punched his father in the face repeatedly, carrying on the attack after he fell onto the dining room carpet.

Michael Grimstead managed to get up onto a chair, but his son resumed the assault with more punches which left him with massive bruising on his face and a suspected broken nose.

His partner Wendy Costello, aged 77, managed to call the police before Grimshaw grabbed her phone.

Officers arrived within minutes at the house in Burnham-on-Sea and rescued the couple.

Mr Grimstead was so badly injured that he spent a night in hospital under observation, and was still in pain a month later, and told police he thought he was going to be killed in the attack.

Ashley Grimstead, aged 43, of Enmore Road, Taunton, and previously of Pear Tree Way, Wellington, admitted two counts of assault causing actual bodily harm when he appeared in Exeter Crown Court.

Judge Stephen Climie sentenced him to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered him to pay £300 compensation.

He also issued a restraining order banning Ashley Grimstead from going to Burnham-on-Sea for 10 years.

Judge Climie told Grimstead: “You appreciate that the violence and injury in this case would justify sending you straight to prison.

“I have read a psychiatric report and your attitude to the process has been relatively positive.

“Despite the horrific injuries which you inflicted on an elderly man, I am just persuaded that I can suspend this sentence.”

Nigel Wraith, prosecuting, said Ms Costello answered a knock on the door at 4 pm on February 14 by opening it a short way to see who was there.

Grimstead pushed it open, knocked her out of the way, and went straight to his father before attacking him without warning in the dining room and punching him in the face or head 10 times.

His father could feel blood pouring from his injuries but was able to get onto a chair when his son saw Ms Costello calling the police and interrupted his attack to grab her phone.

He then continued raining blows on his father, who spent a night in hospital as a result.

Mr Wraith said: “When police found him, he was bleeding heavily and said he feared for his life because the attack was so vicious and unprovoked.

“He felt totally betrayed by his son.”

Stephen Nunn, defending, said Grimstead had mental health issues which he was now addressing.

He said Grimstead believed he had been abused physically as a child by another member of his family who had since died and transferred his feelings of animosity to his father.

A psychiatric report concluded the attack arose from a culmination of issues which were unique and which were extremely unlikely to happen again.

Grimstead had previously been jailed for six years in 2014 for attacking a neighbour in his own home in Pear Tree Way, Wellington.