A HIGH-FLYING graduate wept today (Monday, April 29) as he was jailed for fracturing the skull of a would-be Army engineer in a nightclub attack - described as "12 seconds of madness".

Eden Uttley, 21, has had to put his career in the forces on hold while he recovers from the horrific injuries he suffered outside The Arena in Middlesbrough a year ago.

His attacker, Joshua Lane, 22, was last night starting a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence after he admitted a charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent to do so.

Teesside Crown Court heard how trouble flared in the night-spot in the early hours of March 11 last year - which resulted in the two young men rolling around on the dance-floor.

Mr Uttley was later involved in a fight with another clubber, and when he was thrown out by door staff, Lane ran at him and knocked him out with a single "powerful" punch.

Witnesses said they saw the victim fall face-first into the ground unconscious before Lane either kicked him or stamped on him twice, said prosecutor Sue Jacobs.

He suffered a fractured skull, air around the brain, spent four days in hospital, and is still waiting for plastic surgery to his forehead which will leave him scarred for life.

In a statement, Mr Uttley said he had reached the final selection stage for the Army, but has had to have the process deferred for a year to see how well his recovery goes.

Duncan McReddie, mitigating, said Lane's career as a call centre boss could also be ruined as a result of the prison sentence for what he called "12 seconds of madness".

He produced a raft of certificates and glowing references, and said: "It is an isolated incident in a young life that has otherwise been one of effort and achievement.

"Joshua Lane is a highly-educated young man . . . it lasted only 12 seconds and is going to have a hugely disproportionate effect on the rest of his life."

Judge Peter Armstrong, told Lane, of Junction Road, Norton, near Stockton: "This type of offence is one of the most serious on the criminal calendar.

"I have read the most impressive bundle of certificates and testimonials. You have achieved a great deal in your young life and graduated with a good degree."