A FATHER left a punter needing emergency brain surgery following a late-night bust-up outside a Bridgwater nightclub.

A single punch from Dennis Raines during the incident near The Gallery left his victim hospitalised for a week and needing an operation to stop blood clotting his brain.

Taunton Crown Court heard how Raines, a keen skittles player, landed the powerful blow after the man grabbed his bottom outside the nightspot.

The victim fell back and smacked his head, knocking him out, with eyewitnesses describing it like “a hammer hitting an object,” prosecutor Harry Ahuja said.

Retail worker Raines, 25, of Merino Way, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm but escaped a prison sentence at court on Friday (May 23).

He was given a 12-month suspended sentence, banned from licensed premises for six months and ordered to pay £2,200 compensation to the victim as well as being ordered do 200 hours unpaid work.

The incident unfolded on Sunday, February 9, when two groups of friends left the club during the early hours of the morning.

Mr Ahuja told the court that there was an altercation between Raines’ friends and the victim’s group in the street, who were out celebrating a rugby victory.

It was stated that CCTV footage showed Raines initially acting as a peacemaker before being approached by the victim who grabbed his bottom from behind.

The victim turned away with his hands in the air, at which point Raines is seen swinging his right fist at him, knocking him to the ground.

His victim was taken to hospital before being transferred to Frenchay in Bristol, where he required surgery and needed multiple stitches to the side of his head.

In a statement made in April and read to the court, the victim, a self-employed IT worker, said the injury had caused him financial loss as well as difficulties with his speech, reading and writing.

Defending, Rebecca Bradberry said: “It was an unfortunate set of events that resulted in the blow leading to the victim hitting his head.

“It is clear that he was the peacemaker and making sure that trouble was not going to unfold.

“He is extremely anxious as to how the victim will recover.”

Judge Euan Ambrose said: “The effect of an injury of this sort takes some time to recover from and the victim, at least in April of this year, was complaining of some of the effects of it.”

He told Raines: “You did not intent to cause him the harm that was caused.

“You threw a single punch but single punches can have catastrophic consequences.”