A THUG who attacked two men in a nightclub, kicking one as he lay on the ground unconscious, has been jailed for four years.

Philip Reilly had a bottle in his hand when he punched his first victim, knocking him out, and then kicked him in the head.

The man's brother then tried to intervene, pushing Reilly, but was hit twice to the back of the head with the same bottle which he said “felt like a brick”.

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Following the incident in Harvey's, on Houndgate, Darlington, Reilly, who climbed over a wall to escape, was arrested by police and said: “I hit the lad, he deserved it”.

Reilly, of Dickinson Street, Darlington, admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm, but denied it was with intent to do serious harm. However a jury at Teesside Crown Court found him guilty of the more serious offence.

The 31-year-old also pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The jury were shown CCTV footage of the attack, in a smoking area to the rear of Harvey's, at about 1.30am on November 1 last year.

Prosecutor Harry Hadfield said the nature of the assaults established “beyond any doubt” that he intended to do serious harm.

The two bloodied victim, had been drinking in Darlington town centre to celebrate an 18th birthday and required hospital treatment to substantial head wounds.

A film of the incident was played to the jury and showed the first victim laid prostrate on the ground while he was attended to by other drinkers.

Robert Mochrie, for Reilly, said the incident had been short-lived and no further kicks were delivered.

He said the father-of-two had acted out of character, having no previous convictions for violence, and had shown remorse.

Sentencing him, Judge David Hatton said: “You became agitated and angry with this young man, struck him with a bottle, and then while he was prone on the ground you kicked him in the head – a potentially lethal action.

“When his brother intervened you then struck him with the same bottle.

“The use of weapons in public and the kicking of people cannot be tolerated.”

The judge said he took Reilly's remorse and his candidness about his actions into account, but the least sentence he could pass was four years.

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