A DRUNKEN ex-soldier is behind bars today after shattering his victim’s eye socket with a “full-blooded kick.”
Powerfully-built Damien Knight knocked Paul Harrison off his feet with one punch, before kicking him in the head as he lay injured on the ground.
The 22-year-old, of Wylam Grove, Sunderland, left his bleeding victim with multiple fractures to his right eye, after the ferocious onslaught on Boxing Day night last year, in Newcastle city centre.
The court heard that Mr Harrison, a finance officer, was left with a “noticeable droop to his right eye”, dilation to the pupil, trouble with eye movement, and partial loss of vision, which could all be permanent.
Trouble started when Mr Harrison barged in front of Knight while he was waiting to use a cash machine.
CCTV footage showed the confrontation between the two men before Knight lashed out with the brutal punch, following it up with the savage kick a few moments later.
Jolyon Perks, prosecuting, said: “Mr Harrison has been told by the consultant that the eye will continue to improve but whether it fully recovers is another matter.
“It may be a permanent debilitation.
“He has been learning to drive effectively with his one eye and has been given glasses with a view to improve the vision in his right eye.”
Jamie Adams, defending Knight, said: “This wasn’t a fight which was picked by this man at all.
“He is appalled that he behaved the way he did. There was an element of persistence from young Paul Harrison as well.
“He should have walked away but he struck Paul Harrison and within a few seconds he kicked as Paul Harrison was falling or had fallen to the ground.”
Knight pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding and was jailed yesterday for 33 months.
Sentencing him, Judge John Milford QC said: “You punched Paul Harrison in the face with sufficient force to knock him straight to the ground, then after a pause of more than a couple of seconds you kicked out at him.
“It was a full-blooded kick and you are a tall and powerfully built young man.
“He suffered a wound but that was the least of it.
“You used a shod foot against his head.
“He suffered multiple fractures of the right eye.
“There’s a drooping of the right eyelid and a dilation of the pupil so that the two eyes do look different.
“Not surprisingly, he’s self-conscious about that and the more so when others are insensitive enough to ask about it when he is in company.”
Knight was also ordered to pay £120 victim surcharge.