A thug who left a man with a brain injury after knocking him out following an argument as the victim was walking home from a night out has been jailed.

Nicholas Vernon reacted angrily to the victim calling him a ‘scruffy little rat’ and they became embroiled in a fight.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Vernon then walked away but the victim followed him before he took his top off and launched the one-punch attack on the man.

The victim was taken to James Cook University Hospital for treatment for a bleed to the brain.

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In a victim impact statement, the man said: “This was a frightening assault and suffers ongoing memory loss and migraines, despite the assault happening almost a year ago.”

“I was left unconscious and bleeding heavily in the middle of the road and had to be revived by emergency services.”

Darlington and Stockton Times: Nicholas Vernon. Picture: DURHAM CONSTABULARYNicholas Vernon. Picture: DURHAM CONSTABULARY

Rachel Masters, prosecuting, said Vernon was captured on CCTV knocking the victim to the ground.

She said: “He was left unconscious and bleeding heavily in the middle of the road and had to be revived by emergency services.”

Vernon, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm following the violence in the early hours of September 18 last year.

Christopher Bevan, in mitigation, said his client understood that he was facing an immediate custodial sentence for the brutal attack while he was under the influence of drugs.

He added: “He tells me he was a heavy crack cocaine user and was abusing alcohol. He fully accepts that he caused the injuries that he did.

“He told me that he did so on the basis that he went too far but he says there was some level of provocation.”

Judge Howard Crowson jailed Vernon for ten months and ordered the 26-year-old to pay £156 in compensation instead of paying towards court costs as he was already serving a prison sentence for an unrelated matter.

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He said: “There may have been some confrontation earlier but he (the victim) doesn’t remember but what we see from the CCTV is that you are walking on the same street.

You were some distance ahead but you turned and went back to him and punched him with one strong punch which knocked him straight to the ground.”

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