A STUDENT who hospitalised a man after knocking him out with a single punch has avoided jail.

Lewis Waugh, 21, appeared at Teesside Crown Court on Wednesday, where he was sentenced for a single count of assault causing actual bodily harm.

The court heard how Waugh had been drinking with friends in the Red Lion pub, in Norton, on March 3, when he bumped into the victim, 56, in the toilets.

Harry Hadfield, prosecuting, said there was bad blood between the pair as Waugh was dating a former partner of the victim's son.

The victim then headbutted Waugh in the corridor outside the toilets before both were ejected from the pub by bouncers.

Mr Hadfield said the victim was then standing talking to a bouncer outside the pub when he was punched so hard that he was rendered unconscious and hit his head off the pavement.

A bouncer described the punch as "cowardly" and said Waugh was running at the victim and delivered the blow with full force.

The man was taken to hospital where doctors found he had three fractures to his jaw, 21 to his eye. He also lost two teeth and needed staples to his head as well as an operation to insert plates and screws into his jaw.

He spent two days recovering in hospital but did not wish to make a victim impact statement or press charges.

Gary Wood, mitigating, said Waugh had entered guilty pleas early despite initially denying the offences in his police interview.

He said Waugh did not intend to cause such a serious injury and was "remorseful" and wanted to write a letter apologising to the victim.

"This was a hot-headed moment. He lost his temper rather than it being a premeditated attack," he said. "This is behaviour very much out of character. He's in full time education and has good job prospects in the electrical industry."

He added: "Both his parents are very disappointed in the situation he finds himself in and his actions but they are supportive."

Judge Peter Armstrong accepted that Waugh had waited outside the pub for his friends rather than to attack the victim and noted he had been assaulted himself.

He sentenced Waugh, of Darlington Road, Stockton, to a 12-month community order and also ordered him to do 100 hours' unpaid work and complete 20 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days.