THE neighbour of a business leader has admitted he was behind the brutal attack that left him in hospital for several weeks.

Shahed Mahmood was rushed to hospital in a critical condition after he was punched by Mohammed Shazad Akram following a row over a parking space.

Akram, of Union Road, Oswaldwistle, pleaded guilty to the attack on what should have been the first day of trial at Burnley Crown Court on Tuesday.

Mr Mahmood, then the president of the Hyndburn Chamber of Trade, suffered serious head injuries in the ‘one-strike’ incident.

The 50-year-old had also been standing for council in the Immanuel ward of Oswaldwistle at the time, but had to withdraw from campaigning following the incident and stand down from leading the chamber.

He has no recollection of the build-up to the attack or how and why it happened.

Akram has no previous convictions and has lived on the same street as Mahmood for several years.

The court heard how the two men and their families had never experienced any difficulties and would ‘generally get along’.

Defending the 28-year-old, Simeon Evans said: “There was an argument – Mr Mahmood had come to the defendant’s house to deal with an issue to do with parking.

“As my client tried to usher Mr Mahmood away, he [Mahmood] made a very hurtful and upsetting comment about his dead brother.

“The two males were standing very closely together and Mr Akram believed that Mr Mahmood was going to move his arm towards him. He then struck one blow to Mr Mahmood’s face.

“I have to accept that there are aggravating features in this case – the location of the offence, the ongoing effects on the victim, and the presence of other people in the area.

“But he has no previous convictions, it was a single blow and he has shown evidence of remorse.”

In the aftermath, witnesses described Akram as being ‘shocked and stunned’ at his actions, saying he had remained on the scene while police and paramedics arrived.

Mr Evans added: “This was very much an isolated incident.”

Prosecuting the case, Alison Mather said: “Much of this I can’t agree or disagree with. Mr Mahmood is not able to give any evidence as to what happened at the time as he has no recollection of the events.”

Judge Sara Dodd commented on the neighbourly dispute, saying that both involved parties were ‘probably thoroughly good men’.

Akram pleaded guilty to inflicting GBH and was released on conditional bail. He will be sentenced on June 12.