A FORMER soldier launched a violent street attack on a stranger after downing two bottles of vodka.
James Shickle punched Michael Ward as he stood outside The Golden Fleece, in Silksworth, Sunderland.
Newcastle Crown Court heard others joined in the violence on Mr Ward, an engineer who had gone to the pub that day to watch a Sunderland football match on television.
The victim was left with a black eye and other injuries to his face.
CCTV footage showed that as well as the punches thrown by Shickle, Mr Ward was kicked by another attacker and glasses were thrown during the incident.
Mr Ward said he felt shocked at being attacked simply because he was in the “wrong place at the wrong time”.
Shickle, who served his country during a peace-keeping mission to Bosnia before he left the army, admitted assault causing bodily harm on February 12.
The 27-year-old was the only person arrested in relation to the incident.
The court heard when he was interviewed by police, Shickle, of Peasmore Road, Pennywell, admitted he had drunk two bottles of vodka on the day of the attack.
“His recollection of events was clouded because of that,” prosecutor Paul Rowland told the court.
The court heard Shickle appeared stunned when shown video footage of his behaviour, and asked himself “what am I doing?”.
Judge James Goss sentenced Shickle to 16 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with supervision for 12 months.
He was also ordered to pay £400 compensation and £600 costs.
The judge told him: “Having consumed an enormous amount of alcohol you were responsible for starting an ugly, sustained incident of violence where you attacked a perfectly innocent man, punching him persistently, no doubt by your behaviour encouraging others to join in the nasty attack upon him.”
The judge said it was fortunate Mr Ward was not more badly injured. He added: “This sort of behaviour is not acceptable.”