AN ex-soldier who launched a frenzied attack on other party goers after being wrongly accused of stealing a lighter was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after a tour of Iraq, a court has heard.

Alan James Davies was at a woman’s 21st birthday part in Darlington on the night of Saturday, February 16, when he, his nephew and a friend, were accused of stealing a Zippo lighter.

The trio, who did not know the birthday girl but had been invited through a mutual friend, were asked to leave, but Davies, 28, of Selbourne Terrace in Darlington, refused and challenged the party hosts to “make me”.

Lorraine Cooper, prosecuting at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court, said the trio were ushered out but forced their way back in through the back door.

Davies, who served in the army between the ages of 17 and 21, punched the host's boyfriend in the face and then repeatedly kicked him after he fell to the floor, the court heard.

Another woman tried to stop the attack so Davies punched her fully in the face leaving her with a cut beneath her eye which needed hospital treatment, the prosecutor said.

Davies then began lashing out anybody else who got in his way, the court heard, with the attack only ending when police arrived.

Ms Cooper said: “He was just hitting out at anybody there as people were trying to get him out of the premises.

“It is clear the defendant and his friends were the ones causing trouble.”

Ms Cooper said there were also children in the house and the party hosts were left scared and angered by the attack.

Peter Cheng, mitigating, said his anger had been sparked after he saw his 21-year-old nephew lying unconscious on the floor, although it was not clear how he ended up there.

Mr Cheng said Davies had been introduced to new people at the party and had got on well with everyone until the incident.

The solicitor said Davies, who admitted affray, has now been diagnosed with PTSD after serving in Iraq.

He said Davies was troubled after returning from the army, adding: “He did not cope very well with all the things he saw in a war zone.”

Magistrates asked for a pre-sentence report to be prepared and said jail was an option.

Davies was given unconditional bail to return to court on Thursday, June 19.