A FORMER special needs worker who struck his 86-year-old mother whilst drunk has avoided jail.

Richard Smith, who lived with Shelia Smith in Milford-on-Sea, assaulted his mum as “pressures began to build” and their relationship “got worse because of alcohol”.

Southampton Magistrates’ Court heard that the 59-year-old was of previous good character but on July 2 he hit out in “frustration”.

A probation report read at court noted that Smith drinks approximately 28 units of alcohol per week and that the father-of-two had begun to lower his intake.

It said: “He accepts responsibility for what he did. It is because of drink and he wasn’t thinking straight.

“It would not have happened if he was sober.”

The report added that Smith had become “frustrated” and that his relationship with his mother had “deteriorated in the last year”.

In sentencing, magistrates said: “This is a very sad situation with different pressures building between the two of you.

“She is 86-years-old and a very vulnerable lady who did not deserve this.”

Smith, of New Valley Road, Milton-on-Sea, was sentenced to a 12-month community order and will carry out 60 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £85 costs and £85 victim surcharge.