A FORMER soldier was today spared jail over a “vicious” Sunderland street attack which could have left his victim dead.
Ryan Crake was caught on CCTV punching Andrew Fletcher to the ground before stamping on him as he lay helpless outside Illusions nightclub in Sunderland in the early hours of December 20 last year.
The shocking footage was played during a hearing at Newcastle Crown Court, where a judge described the attack as “vicious” and added: “He could have killed him.”
Prosecutor Claire Anderson told the court the victim had been at his work Christmas party and remembers leaving the venue in the early hours.
Miss Anderson added; “The next thing he remembers is walking up in hospital.”
Mr Fletcher suffered reduced consciousness in the attack and had cuts to his face and scalp.
Despite the violence inflicted on him, none of his bones were fractured.
The court heard the pain Mr Fletcher still suffers as a result of what happened, making heavy lifting at work a struggle.
Video footage of the attack shows Mr Fletcher stumbling around Holmeside in the city centre, throwing chips at other revellers after he left his work party.
The violence left him lying the road, where police arrived within seconds of the attack.
Paul Currer, defending, said Crake and his partner had just found out that she was expecting his baby.
Mr Currer added: “The defendant said he saw his partner being pushed by this man, as well as other women.
“As soon as he saw that, he reacted in the way he did.
“He describes a flash of anger came upon him. He reacted instantly and very rapidly.
“Unfortunately, he too was drunk. It was his drunkenness, he believes, which led to the lack of control in seeing his girlfriend treated this way.
“He accepts his behaviour was disproportionate and over the top.”
Mr Currer said a prison sentence would “change everything” for the ex-squaddie, who served in the Army for three years.
Itwould mean he would miss his partner, who is due to have their baby in August, giving birth.
Crake, 21, of Victory Street East, Hetton-le-Hole, who has never been in trouble before, pleaded guilty to assault.
Mr Recorder William Lowe QC said Mr Fletcher appeared to be “behaving badly” but added: “He did not deserve the degree of violence I have seen on the television screen.
“By the time he is stamped on he is just lying, defenceless on the ground.”
Crake was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with a six-month night-time curfew, and nordered to pay £500 compensation and do 300 hours’ unpaid work.