Tony 'The Fridge' Morrison sentenced for assault
A charity fundraiser well-known for running with a fridge strapped to his back has been convicted of assault.
Tony Morrison arrived in a state of "heightened emotion" at former employee Andrew Mallaby's home after going round to retrieve a company laptop, South Tyneside Magistrates' Court heard.
The 51-year-old said he thought he had caught Mr Mallaby selling client information to a rival marketing firm.
An altercation then took place and he slapped him and bit him on the arm.
Often known as "Tony The Fridge", Morrison has raised about £100,000 for charities and was named fundraiser of the year at the Pride of Britain Awards 2014.
The court heard Mr Mallaby had been part of the team that ran Morrison's business after he stepped down to focus on charity work.
He had run the website and had in his possession a laptop but Morrison said he was "worried" the client information "would be lost forever" if it was not returned.
The court heard Mr Mallaby's sister Lauren rang the police and Morrison was eventually bundled out her family home in Sunderland before leaving the scene.
During the struggle Morrison's trousers split open, leaving him exposed as he was not wearing underwear.
Judge Roger Elsey said: "The sirens of the police officers could be heard but he did not wait for their arrival.
"If he thought he was an innocent man who had been assaulted he would have waited for the police."
Morrison was also convicted of assaulting Mr Mallaby's father George.
Two other charges of assault and a charge of using violence to secure entry were dismissed.
Morrison, from Hebburn, said he had "nurtured" Mr Mallaby for many years and loved him "like a son" and felt "betrayed".
He was handed a 12-month community sentence, ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £600 in compensation and in costs.