A THUG who broke a reveller’s jaw in two place in a drunken unprovoked attack has been jailed for 16 months.
Peter Harker, 27, punched the unsuspecting victim, who was a stranger to him, in Hartlepool town centre for no reason.
The victim was immediately knocked unconscious and had to have a metal plate inserted in his jaw.
Teesside Crown Court heard Harker had downed multiple double vodkas and also drank four lagers before he went out on the town.
Harker approached a group including the victim who were talking and having a cigarette outside a bar in Victoria Road at around 1.30am on April 12.
Rachel Masters, prosecuting, said: “The complainant turned round and waved goodbye.
“He continued to walk away with his back to the defendant when the next thing the defendant walked behind the complainant and while he was completely unaware punched him once to the right side of his head.
“The complainant was immediately knocked unconscious and fell face first to the pavement.”
The court heard the victim had no memory of the incident except waking up in the back of an ambulance on his way to hospital.
Harker was arrested after a doorman who witnessed the attack recognised Harker when he was out the following week.
In a statement the victim said: “It was an unprovoked attack and because of the extent of my injuries I have lost my job through no fault of my own.
“I didn’t see who attacked me and I would never have been able to recognise them.
“I was merely having a few drinks with friends. I was minding my own business.”
Harker, of Wynnstay Gardens, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm.
Jim Withyman, mitigating, said: “He has shown genuine remorse for what he has done.”
Mr Withyman appealed for the sentence to be suspended but the judge said she had no choice.
Judge Gillain Matthews said: “This was a wholy unprovoked attack on a man in the street. There was no context for this assault at all.
“Given no context, no excuse, no previous fighting you punched him to the ground and broke both sides of his jaw resulting in surgery.
“There have been consequences for this man in terms of losing his job and in my judgement only an immediate sentence of custody is appropriate.”