A 20-year-old man was left fighting for his life after what started out as an angry exchange of words on a night out turned into an "explosion of violence", a court heard today.
Robert King was on his way home from a night out with friends when he was punched in the head, knocking him to the ground with a "sickening thud", Lincoln Crown Court heard.
Mr King, a carpenter, was taken to hospital by police officers as no ambulance was available following the attack in Louth town centre on 29 July last year.
He was unconscious for 12 days after suffering a blood clot on the brain and still suffers from double vision and is not able to drive.
Mr King, from Fulstow, Lincolnshire, has yet to return to work following the attack, which started when one of the gang insulted his friend outside a nightclub.
Today six men received jail sentences ranging from six months to two years.
Sentencing Mr King's attackers, Judge Richard O'Rorke said: "At the end of the day a man has been very seriously injured. It will be a very long time before he recovers fully and the whole family have been put through the most terrible time.
"What the CCTV footage shows is that what started off as an exchange of words quickly escalated in to an explosion of violence.
"The message must go out that if you go drinking and go into a public street looking for trouble then this is the sort of thing that happens and the unforeseen result is that serious injury can occur."
After the verdict, Mr King's mother Jane said: "No one can be prepared for the pain and trauma this sort of experience throws at you and our hearts go out to those who have lost a loved one in similar circumstances.
"We stayed by Robert's side for 12 agonising days, not knowing if he was strong enough to survive but willing him to fight."
Detective Chief Inspector Andy West said: "Alcohol clearly played its part in what happened to Robert that night. My staff will offer no sympathy to people who become violent through drink.
"There is need for a strong reminder of where the line is drawn between enjoying a night out and becoming an anti-social and violent criminal."
Steven Goy, 22, from Louth, admitted one charge of actual bodily harm, one charge of affray and one charge of common assault. He was jailed for nine months.
Shane Billinger, 21, from Louth, admitted one charge of grievous bodily harm and one charge of affray as did 22-year-old Dean Speight, from Louth. Both men were jailed for two years.
Nicholas Cullingford, 19, from Louth, admitted one charge of actual bodily harm and one charge of affray. He was jailed for six months.
Daniel Kilmore, 19, from Louth, admitted one charge of actual bodily harm and a second charge of affray. He was jailed for nine months.
Robert McSpadden, 21, from Louth, admitted one charge of affray and another charge of actual bodily harm. He was jailed for six months.Reuse content