A MALMESBURY man who felled another with a single blow was described by a judge as having experienced a "momentary lapse of judgement”.

Recorder Roger Harris suspended Rory Curran’s 18-month prison sentence for two years, telling the 33-year-old: “This is a case in which there is strong personal mitigation. It was, I accept, a very significant but a momentary lapse of judgement and you are suitably regretful and remorseful.”

Prosecutor Susan Cavender told Swindon Crown Court the attack happened at The Kings Arms, Malmesbury, shortly before midnight on December 20, 2019.

Curran, who was out with his brother, would later tell police he’d already drunk five pints of lager at various pubs before he got to the High Street hotel.

CCTV footage played to the court showed the victim being pushed by the defendant’s brother before Curran, who was talking to another group nearby, turned round and delivered a swift blow with his right fist while still clutching his glass.

Ms Cavender said: “After that blow has been struck the defendant then immediately leaves the pub, leaving his brother in one group and the attacked person in another as the two parties effectively separate and the police were then called.

“What is very clear from the CCTV is that immediately up until that moment, the defendant and the victim had been getting on very well. There are some considerable minutes [of footage] of them chatting before the victim turns back to the defendant’s brother.”

The victim suffered multiple cuts to his head and was treated at the Great Western Hospital, Swindon. In a victim personal statement, he spoke of suffering from anxiety, headaches and tinnitus. “I honestly feel like this whole incident has changed me and not for the better,” he wrote, adding that he had not deserved the attack.

Both Curran brothers were interviewed by police. The defendant told officers he’d gone to help his sibling and instinctively thrown a punch, forgetting that he was holding a glass.

Tony Bignall, mitigating, suggested that “rather off” comments were made by the victim earlier that evening and had put his client on his guard. He fled the pub as he felt shocked and scared by what he had done, but later handed himself in to police. He had taken responsibility for his actions.

He was extremely remorseful and, in a pre-sentence report, a probation officer recommended he receive a punishment that enabled him to retain his liberty.

Curran, of Michael Pyms Road, Malmesbury, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm. He had one previous conviction for driving with excess alcohol dating back to 2009.

Recorder Harris imposed 100 hours of unpaid work and ordered Curran pay £1,500 compensation.