A VIOLENT thug who kicked another man in the head “as if kicking a football” while he lay defenceless on the ground has been jailed for six months.

Jamie Ellis joined in an attack on the victim after he had already been kicked and punched unconscious.

Prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court, Richard Bennett described how the injured party had been set upon in Richmond's Market Place after he took exception to a comment about his girlfriend by a man accompanying Ellis.

The victim and his girlfriend had been sat awaiting a taxi shortly after 2am on August 24 last year following a night out when they encountered 24-year-old Ellis.

After words were exchanged a struggle ensued between the three men and the victim was knocked unconscious.

Mr Bennett said: “The defendant is seen to deliver a forceful kick to his [the complainant's] head like a footballer kicking a football.

“He was unconscious at the time and in no position to defend himself.”

Both assailants made off, but had been spotted by a CCTV operator and after Ellis, who was covered in blood, got into a taxi police were sent to his home address to arrest him.

The victim suffered a broken nose, chipped tooth and swelling to his face which closed an eye.

Mr Bennett said Ellis, of Whitcliffe Place, Richmond, who admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm, had previous convictions for affray and assault.

These included hitting a complainant with a bottle and headbutting an 18-year-old man.

“All these convictions relate to violence in the centre of Richmond and particularly in the Market Place,” the prosecutor added.

The court heard how Ellis, a labourer with an electrical firm, turned to alcohol to run away from his problems.

However his job and the fact he was in a relationship gave him the opportunity for some stability in his life.

Recorder Felicity Davies said Ellis had readily joined in the violence and the victim had been lucky not to suffer worse injuries.

She said Ellis had been fortunate not to have been previously jailed and had also failed to comply with the terms of a community order given to him in June 2012.

The judge told him: “When you drink you are a danger to other people. Your behaviour on this occasion and the offence you committed are so serious that only an immediate custodial sentence is appropriate.”