Sunderland man spared jail after knocking a woman unconscious on a night out to celebrate her birthday
A woman was knocked unconscious with a single blow during a city centre night out with friends to celebrate her birthday.
The victim was unconscious, with blood pouring from her head, when police, who had been alerted by civic centre CCTV operators, arrived at the scene in Sunderland in the early hours of September 19 last year.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the woman had visited bars in the city with friends and "next thing she becomes aware of is the police speaking to her and informing her she had been the victim of an assault".
Kieran Fairweather, 29, who was responsible for the attack, was still at the scene and on the telephone to the ambulance service when officers arrived.
He was caught on the CCTV footage "clearly in drink, clearly staggering" before the violence.
A judge has now given him a suspended prison sentence and warned: "People die as a result of single punches, it is not uncommon."
The court heard the victim, who banged her head on a metal roller shutter as she fell, needed three staples to a head laceration, suffers pain to her jaw, which now "clicks constantly" and has required ten hospital visits, as well as a course of laser treatment and strong painkillers on prescription.
She now feels reluctant to socialise or go out in the dark and said in a statement: "I don't feel comfortable or safe".
Fairweather, of Kilsyth Square, Downhill, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to assault.
Vic Laffey, defending, said Fairweather "has little recollection of what led up to this" and cannot give an explanation for his behaviour.
Mr Laffey added: "He expresses considerable regret and remorse."
The court heard Fairweather has a job and a pregnant partner and is not heavily convicted.
Mr Recorder Michael Fanning told Fairweather: "The CCTV operator saw you being verbally abusive to your victim then knocking her to the floor and knocking her out with a single punch to the face.
"She had no recollection of the incident."
The judge sentenced Fairweather to 34 weeks imprisonment, suspended for two years, with rehabilitation requirments, 60 hours unpaid work and an order to pay £250 compensation to the victim.