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A MAN was subjected to a “frenzied and sustained” attack because he had ginger-coloured hair, a court heard.

James Prior was left with a number of cuts and bruises as a result of being assaulted by Miguel Costa and Robert Knapper in a completely unprovoked attack, Southampton Crown Court was told.

The pair were driving along Maryatt Road in New Milton when Costa spotted Mr Prior, who had left his home nearby to get a paper.

Prosecutor Mary Aspinall-Miles described how Costa started hurling abuse from the car at Mr Prior based on the colour of his hair.

Costa, 19, then got out of the car and threw a number of punches and kicked out at the victim in a “wild and unfocussed manner”.

At one point Costa even bit Mr Prior on the cheek.

Miss Aspinall-Miles said: “Mr Prior put his palms up as if to calm him (Costa) down, and starting backing away at this point. He had no idea why he was being attacked. It appeared that it was simply because of the fact he had ginger-coloured hair.”

Knapper, 22, then joined in the assault when Mr Prior put his fists out as if to defend himself. Knapper threw punches causing injuries to his victim before stepping away and eventually pulling Costa away, the court heard. The pair then got into their car and drove off.

Costa admitted one charge of causing actual bodily harm and a public order offence. The conviction meant he had also breached a probation order imposed for previous offences of burglary, battery and a bail offence, for which he was also resentenced.

The court heard that Costa, of Glengarry, New Milton, remembered little of the attack because he was drunk, which was the cause of much of his offending. He was sentenced to 24 months and two weeks in prison.

Knapper, of Hawthorn Close, New Milton, was said to have acted out of a misplaced sense of loyalty, having got the impression that Costa knew the victim.

He was sentenced to 20 months in prison after admitting one count of causing actual bodily harm.