A WREXHAM man attacked on the stairwell of the block of flats where he lived ended up in a coma with brain damage.
A court heard how victim Steven Wyburn, 42, had been punched on the stairs during a confrontation with a group of young men.
He fell down a flight of steps and ended up unconscious - before then being kicked by his attacker.
Shaun Powell, 21, described as a talented footballer who could have a promising career but for his alcohol problem, admitted a wounding charge and was jailed for two-and-a-half years.
Judge Nicholas Woodward, sitting at Mold Crown Court, told Powell, of Bury Street, Hightown, Wrexham, that the August 27 attack had been unprovoked.
'You punched him on three occasions on that narrow stairway and inevitably he fell,' the judge said.
'You followed and kicked him at least once to the area of the head while he was wholly defenceless and appeared to be unconscious.'
The judge said it could not be said precisely how the brain injury had been caused, but it was clear it had been caused during the attack that Powell had committed on him.
The victim had suffered a significant brain injury, had been on a life support machine and he had made slow progress in recovery.
He remained ill in hospital and hopefully over time he would recover, although the medical evidence was that it was not known how long, or how complete, a recovery it would be.
'You committed this offence for no other reason than you were drunk at the time, so drunk you appear to have no recall of what you did,' the judge told him.
Prosecuting barrister Gareth Roberts showed a CCTV film of the incident on the spiral staircase at the Napier Square flats.
Powell, he said, was on the stairs with a group of other young men and there was an altercation when Powell punched out at Mr Wyburn three times.
He lost his balance and fell down a flight of stairs, Powell went down the stairs and kicked him to the upper body area or head while he lay on the floor.
No witness statements had been made and the prosecution relied solely on the CCTV film, said Mr Roberts.
Mr Wyburn was left with a fractured nose and left cheek. He had a brain injury, was in a coma when he arrived at Wrexham Maelor Hospital, and was placed on a life support machine for two days. He had needed assistance with his breathing and was still in hospital.
Judge Woodward said it was too early to say what sort of recovery he would make.
Interviewed, Powell initially denied being involved but, when shown the film, accepted it was him attacking Mr Wyburn.
Defending barrister Steven Everett said there was no evidence how the brain injury was caused.
He said that while his client had been shown punching out three times it was not known how many connected.
The kick was obscured and it could not be said with certainty that it was to the head.
Mr Everett stressed he was not saying there had been any provocation, but he said that at the time Mr Wyburn had been coming down the stairs from a flat above with a baseball bat to deal with a group of youths who had allegedly been taunting him earlier.
'There was a level of confrontation that just was not of my client's making,' he said.
But Powell had admitted he was drunk and affected by cannabis and did not recall what had happened.
Alcohol had blighted his life, he was a talented footballer and could well have gone on to greater things but for the alcohol problem.
It was an important feature of the case that the medical evidence suggested Mr Wyburn was expected to make a near normal recovery, Mr Everett said.