A former Rugby man who felled another man with a single powerful punch in an unprovoked assault outside a nightclub has been jailed for eight months.
David Fielding, 29, previously of Ferndown Road, Rugby, had pleaded guilty to assaulting his victim causing him actual bodily harm.
Charles Gardner, prosecuting at Warwick Crown Court, said: “This all arises out of an incident outside a nightclub in Coventry in the early hours of July 26.”
The victim, who has little recollection of what happened, was talking to someone outside Club Heat in City Arcade at around 5.30am.
A dancer from the club, who was taking a break, was sitting on a bench and was aware of the victim and two other men behind her, just outside the entrance to the club.
“Suddenly one of them, the defendant, swung a single punch at him, striking him to the temple, and he fell to the ground unconscious.”
A high-quality CCTV recording showed that the victim was taking to another man when Fielding, who was standing to one side and slightly behind him, swung an upwards punch from just above waist height.
Then as his victim lay on the ground, bleeding heavily from a gaping one-inch cut, which may have been caused as he fell, Fielding simply turned and walked away.
The victim, who had more cuts to the back of his head, was taken to hospital where he was treated and detained for observation because he had suffered serious concussion.
And Recorder Stephen Evans observed: “We very often see such offences resulting in death from a single punch.”
Mr Gardner added that Fielding had a number of previous convictions for violence, and in December 2011 had been jailed for 18 months for inflicting grievous bodily harm.
David Everett, defending, said: “He comes from a difficult area in which drugs and crime were rife, but he was not involved with drugs until he was 20.”
He said that when Fielding had come out of prison in June 2011, after serving a sentence for offences including possessing an offensive weapon, he was determined to get off heroin.
“He turned to drink to try to try to stop using heroin, and it is drink which led to the GBH offence for which he went back to prison.
“He came out in January 2013, and the need for drink and drugs was still there.”
Fielding went back to jail for shoplifting and attempted burglary at two houses in Rugby, and when he was released earlier this year he went to live at a hostel in Brinklow Road, Coventry, run by a charity for which he also worked.
But on the night of the incident he had been with friends and had drunk 15 cans of Fosters, eight or nine pints and a Jagerbomb and had also taken two lines of cocaine.
“He was heavily affected by drink at the time, and his perception was that some sort of threat had been made. That was clearly wrong, and he hit the person once.
“He believed the injured party said he was going to stab his friend. He accepts that, through drink, he was completely mistaken,” added Mr Everett.
Jailing Fielding, Recorder Evans told him: “As we have seen, you and others were outside a nightclub; and whatever was in your mind, it’s clear to me this was an unprovoked attack.
“You were standing slightly behind and to one side, and he could not have been prepared for this attack which caused the victim to fall to the floor unconscious.
“You were lucky the injuries were not more serious. All of us in this courtroom have had cases where one punch has led to the death of the person.
“The victim fell to the floor where he smashed his head and was lying in a pool of blood.
“You are someone who, when under the influence of drink and drugs, will attack people. A custodial sentence can’t be avoided.”