TWO teenage yobs laughed as they kicked and stamped on a defenceless pensioner, leaving him unconscious with a fractured skull.
They had earlier coaxed victim John Lloyd, 68, out of his bungalow in Penycae by smashing a window at his home.
It was lucky that the old man had not been killed as the thugs jumped on his face, a court was told.
Following the unprovoked attack, described by one witness as 'sickening', Mr Lloyd ended up in hospital for 10 days and has not returned home since.
He lost consciousness, had a depressed skull fracture, two broken ribs, a fractured cheek bone and lumps and bruises to the face and head.
Mold Crown Court heard that one of the two attackers, aged 15, had received an 18 month detention and training order from local magistrates but his appeal against the sentence was dismissed.
Co-defendant Ian Martin Lloyd, 18, of Trem y Gardden, Penycae near Wrexham, received two-and-a-half years youth detention. Both admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm.
Judge Gareth Edwards QC said it was a very serious crime. He told Ian Lloyd: 'You could have killed him and would be serving life imprisonment,' He took the view that both were as guilty as each other. 'You were laughing and jumping on this man's face,' the judge said.
Mr Lloyd, who lived alone, had done more for his country and his community by the age of 18 than the defendants had ever done.
'He was entitled to enjoy a happy and peaceful retirement without being attacked by two mindless young thugs,' Judge Edwards said.
The judge told the 15-year-old, who he ordered should not be publicly identified, that it had been 'a cowardly and brutal attack'. It was only by 'God's good grace' he had lived.
Judge Edwards said he and two magistrates conducting his appeal had read a letter the boy had written to the victim, apologising for what he had done.
But the judge said they felt it had been written largely to make a good impression rather than a genuine expression of regret.
Prosecutor Karen Mullin said it was at 11.50pm on April 28 that Mr Lloyd was at home when he heard the sound of breaking glass. He went to investigate and found a rear window had been broken.
He went out through the front door, saw two youths there, and told them to leave and then went after them.
The attack lasted about two minutes, with the two youths laughing throughout.
An ambulance was called and Mr Lloyd was taken to hospital.
A neighbour saw the attack and witnessed the youths jumping on Mr Lloyd and 'running over him'.
Mark Roberts, for Ian Lloyd, said his client had no previous convictions, but it was accepted that the attack was so serious it passed the custody threshold.
'In many ways, he has jumped in right at the deep end here,' Mr Roberts explained.
The judge commented: ' You cannot attack a pensioner and break several of his bones and jump up and down on his face and not go into custody.'
Mr Roberts said his client did not accept the entirety of the prosecution case but had pleaded guilty on the basis of a joint enterprise.
Karl Schultz defending the boy said they had been drinking heavily, although that was no excuse. It was an appaling incident but it was never intended to turn out that way.
The judge commented he could not understand how the boy had been served in a public house at his age.