A teenager who left a man fighting for his life after a drunken one punch attack has been jailed.
Newcastle Crown Court heard Connor Jary, 18, hit passerby Calvin Mclellan - who had been walking with a friend along Mile End Road, South Shields, square in the face, on August 7 last year.
The attack resulted in his victim hitting his head on the ground. Seven months on he is still in a coma.
Christopher Wood, prosecuting, said Jary, of Moreland Road, South Shields, had been drinking all day in the run up to the attack.
He said: “By 4am he was with a friend outside Abra Pizza in South Shields when Mr Mclellan - who has two daughters - walked past with a friend.
He said: “There was an exchange of words between Mr Mclellan and the defendant before Mr Mclellan and his friend walked away.
“Jary and a friend followed the pair down the road before Jary and Mr Mclellan squared up to each other.”
The court heard how Jary punched his victim in the face, resulting in him falling and hitting his head.
The attack left Mr Mclellan, 30, fighting for his life before undergoing brain surgery. He is still in a coma and doctors have warned that if he ever recovers he will have to learn how to walk again.
In a victim impact statement Mr Mclellan’s mother said: “Since this date my world has fallen apart. I am a broken woman and have a broken family.
“If he does wake up I am told that he will never be the same Calvin that he was. Not only has this ruined my son’s life but it has ruined his daughters’ life too.”
Vic Laffey, defending said: “This is the first time he has appeared before a court for anything. Before this he was of good character and had a job. He feels genuine remorse for what he has done.
“He comes from a decent family and they have constantly enquired about the victim’s health."
The court herd Jary carried out the attack while on bail - along with two other defendants - for a separate violent incident nine months earlier.
In November 2015, Jary and co-accused, Leon Steele and Tre Wilson, both 18, were involved in an altercation outside a house party.
The three defendants were walking past the address in South Shields when words were exchanged with the two male complainants who were waiting for a taxi.
Violence flared between the group, which resulted in the two victims receiving hospital treatment.
John Wilkinson, defending Steele, of Sloane Gardens, said: “He is of good character, when faced with the CCTV his reaction was to look away. He is disgusted by how he behaved that night.”
David Comb, defending Wilson, of Wenlock Road, said: “He was trying to make the peace and prevent any escalation to what happened.
“His mother has been mortified by this whole incident and his whole family are desperate to move on.”
All three men were 17 at the time of the first offence but had turned 18 in the time since.
Judge Sophie Drake gave credit for early guilty pleas.
She said: “You all behaved like complete thugs that night. It must have been extremely frightening for them. You should be thoroughly ashamed of what you did that night.”
Steele, who pleaded guilty to GBH, was jailed for 16 months and Wilson, who admitted affray, was given 100 hours unpaid work.
Sentencing Jary - who pleaded to two counts of GBH, separately - she said: “That one punch caused Mr Mclellan a catastrophic injury.
“His prognosis is not good, it is highly improbably that he will be able to speak again.
“You so easily could have killed him with that one punch. You have put him in such a state that he effectively has no life.”
Jary was jailed for 12 months for the first offence and two years for the second, bringing the total to three years.