A burly nightclubber broke a man’s skull with a single punch which left the victim with a bleed on the brain.
Reece Hardy, 26, struck the “slightly-built” victim with a mighty blow that knocked him straight to the ground.
The victim banged his head on the ground and was laid unconscious as Hardy fled. Two men who were passing the scene near the Quids Inn club in Scarborough stopped to help the young man and put him in the recovery position, York Crown Court heard.
The victim, who has mental-health problems including schizophrenia, was taken to Hull Royal Infirmary where doctors diagnosed a fractured skull and blood haemorrhaging. He spent four weeks in hospital.
Hardy, of Lonsdale Road, Scarborough, was arrested and taken into custody where in anger he smashed the glass on a cell door.
He was charged with inflicting grievous bodily harm and criminal damage. He admitted the offences and was due to be sentenced last month but the case was adjourned to assess the full extent of the victim’s injuries.
The Crown Prosecution Service said at the time that the victim may have suffered permanent hearing loss in one ear following the attack, but were waiting on test results.
Hardy appeared for the adjourned sentence hearing on Friday when prosecutor Michael Smith said although medical tests had shown the victim had suffered some hearing loss, there was no conclusive proof that it had been caused by the blow struck by the strapping defendant.
He said the victim was known to Hardy, who had a beef with him because in the preceding months the “vulnerable” young man had been seen approaching his ex-partner around town, although only in a friendly way and just for a chat.
Mr Smith said that on the night of the attack, on October 29 last year, Hardy had been inside the club with his ex-girlfriend but she left early because he had been acting “arrogantly”.
The victim was confronted in the club by Hardy, who asked him to go outside. The victim followed him thinking they were merely going to have a chat, but then Hardy pointed to an alleyway and both men went in.
CCTV evidence showed the victim, who showed no aggression whatsoever and was being placatory towards Hardy, being floored by a haymaker to the face. Hardy then took an alcohol bottle from a bag he had earlier left in the alleyway and took a sip before leaving.
Police arrived shortly afterwards and found the victim unconscious, lying in a pool of blood.
Following his arrest, Hardy damaged the glass door of a police cell, causing £100 of damage, because he was angry that his clothes had been taken away, the court heard.
Mr Smith said Hardy had previous convictions for resisting a police officer, being drunk and disorderly, theft and driving matters.
Recorder John Thackray told him: “This was gratuitous violence. It is not too dramatic to say that this could have been a fatal injury and you could have been facing a homicide charge.
“It’s your good fortune that he’s made a full physical recovery but no doubt there will be psychological effects upon him.”
Hardy was given a 12-month suspended prison term with 150 hours’ unpaid work and a 30-hour rehabilitation programme to stop him reoffending.
Mr Thackray also made a restraining order which will run indefinitely and prohibits Hardy from contacting the victim.