A MAN accused of hitting his neighbour with a golf club and then slapping her sister left court a free man after a judge said he had no case to answer on two of the charges he faced and a jury cleared him on a third.

Ian Kirton, 53, had denied having an offensive weapon and two charges of assault by beating said to have been committed on August 30 last year in Appleby Close, Darlington.

The prosecution in his trial at Teesside Crown Court said the dispute arose from a complaint by Mr Kirton that his neighbour's children had been throwing eggs at his window.

Mr Kirton's barrister Dan Cordey successfully argued that the evidence against him – which included mobile phone footage shot by a resident - was inconsistent, unreliable and flawed.

Two of the charges against him were formally dismissed, while the jury returned a not guilty verdict on the remaining charge of assault by beating.