A professional footballer has been jailed for three years after he bottled a reveller and fractured his skull in two places during a late night brawl over a woman.
Bristol Rovers ace David Pipe, 26, had been on a nine hour drinking binge when he battered Rhys Morris, 29, over the head with a half-empty wine bottle.
Rhys, described in court as a ”completely innocent member of the public”, was left with a 4in hole in his skull.
He underwent emergency surgery and had metal plates fitted in his shattered skull, but is still suffering the effects of the attack.
Pipe claimed to have no memory of the incident when he was arrested, but eventually pleaded guilty to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Sentencing Pipe to 38 months imprisonment at Bristol Crown Court on Tuesday (May 15) , Judge Mark Horton described him as a ”talented man with too much time and too much money”.
He said: ”A tragedy would be too small a word to describe the tale which has led us to this courtroom.
”It is yet another salutary tale of a young man with natural exceptional talent for what is described as the beautiful game.
”It led you to extremely good financial employment with a number of football clubs. You have a talent which thousands of young men would give anything to possess.
”However, away from the football field you clearly had a life of too much time and too much money which led you into the all too familiar spiral of binge drinking, gambling and meaningless sexual encounters.
”For no good or sensible reason you attacked a completely innocent member of the public in a vicious, unprovoked and drunken attack with a wine bottle.
”The victim was left with two fractures of the skull and a 4in hole, which required surgical intervention to lift out the fragments and insert metal plates.”
Pipe, who was since sacked from Bristol Rovers, had been downing double vodkas and sambucas before the incident at 4am on September 16 last year.
The midfielder, who lived in Stapleton, Bristol, was on a night out with friends at Antix nightclub in the city when he became embroiled in a row over a woman.
The argument led to a drunken street brawl during which Pipe hit Rhys, who was visiting Bristol with a friend, over the head with a half empty bottle of wine.
He was rushed to Frenchay Hospital, Bristol, and underwent surgery to remove a 4in depressed skull fracture and insert three metal plates.
Rhys has been unable to work since the incident and still suffers from memory loss, headaches and frequent falls.
Pipe, who was charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, was sacked by Bristol Rovers when he pleaded guilty.
The court heard his financial situation is now ”catastrophic”.
Caroline Bolt, prosecuting, described a CCTV video of the incident which was shown to the courtroom.
She said: ”The defendant was holding a bottle by his side and hit the victim with the bottle and he fell to the ground immediately, poleaxed.
”He had two fractures of the skull and had to undergo an operation as a result.”
Ian Kelcey, defending, added: ”There is no doubt that alcohol had a massive part to play in the commission of this offence.
”David Pipe is a completely different man when not under the influence of alcohol.”
Pipe signed for Rovers in July 2007 in a £50,000 move from Notts County, and has since scored three goals in 78 appearances.
The Welshman previously played for Coventry City and has captained the Wales Under-21 team.
Pipe made 10 appearances for Rovers last season, including seven league matches, two Carling Cup matches and one Johnstone’s Paint Trophy game.