A THUG that was part of a gang who viciously beat a Good Samaritan outside a supermarket lied in court “because his dad told him to”.

Timothy French was one of three men who viciously attacked a shopper outside the Sainsbury’s store in Southchurch Road, Southend.

The brawl broke out when the man tried to stop French and his two friends Jordan Horner and Liam Spearman from stealing beer from the store on March 3, 2017.

The brutal attack left the victim with a brain bleed, fractured eye socket, dislocated arm, and various bruises.

When approached by police, French, aged 17 at the time, used a false name.

The victim now has constant pains in his shoulder following the dislocation, and “shuts himself away” from others.

Mitigating for French, Nick Maggs said: “He accepts that it was him and he was responsible.

“The report writer asked why he didn’t admit it. His explanation was ‘well, my dad told me to’.

“That’s not a good explanation but one has to compare it to other defendants who are convicted at trial and maintain that position upon conviction. But now that he expresses some remorse is significant.”

Mr Maggs said French had a difficult upbringing with both parents suffering mental health difficulties.

Horner and Spearman, aged 17 and 16 at the time, were sentenced at Basildon Crown Court in June 2019, where Horner was jailed for three years and four months for causing grievous bodily harm, while Spearman was spared jail for affray.

Following the sentence, French, now 22, of Crowstone Road, Westcliff, was identified and arrested and charged.

Recorder Leslie Cuthbert said: “You participated in what can be described as a group attack on him, a simple member of the public who was trying to do his civic duty to prevent you and your two associates from stealing alcohol from Sainsbury’s.

“In return for him doing that courageous act you participated in punching and kicking him, fracturing his left eye socket and his left shoulder dislocated.”

Recorder Cuthbert said that French is “only just” not going to prison, giving him 23 months suspended for two years, plus 200 hours unpaid work and 15 days rehabilitation.

He also ordered French to pay £2,000 in compensation, plus £1,750 in costs.