An amateur rugby league player has admitted knocking a man unconscious with a SINGLE PUNCH during an unprovoked attack.
Craig Skelton was heard telling his 45-year-old victim to “stop touching my a***” before knocking him out cold.
Graphic CCTV footage was played to Hull Crown Court, East Yorks., showing the 27-year-old, who plays back-row for Hull Dockers rugby team, arrive at a bar with friends in the early hours of August 29.
Prosecutor Stephen Welch said the CCTV made it clear the victim, a self-employed plasterer, did not make any physical contact with him prior to the assault.
Mr Welch, who described Skelton as a “fit young man”, said: “The victim was sitting down at the bar. The landlord of the premises said he knew both men and the complainant was described as a placid man.
“The landlord described how he believed the defendant was trying to rile the complainant.”
Mr Welch added: “While the victim was drinking from his glass the defendant struck a single punch to the face, knocking him backwards.
“He was unconscious for a period of time. He received initial treatment at the scene before being taken to hospital.”
The victim suffered a bleed on the brain, a fractured right eye socket and a loss of hearing.
Reading the victim’s personal impact statement, Mr Welch said: “The victim’s main concern was that his left ear felt constantly blocked, causing him discomfort.
“He described how it had left him bad tempered and disorientated. He has no idea what caused the defendant to assault him.”
Skelton, from Hull, East Yorks., admitted one count of causing grievous bodily harm but claims he was provoked by comments made by the victim.
Defending, Ian Phillip said his client insisted there was an “exchange between the two of them” before he reacted violently.
Mr Phillip said: “My client expresses remorse for what has happened.
“It was a nasty injury but it was not pre-meditated. It was a big blow, but it was nonetheless a single blow.”
Recorder Peter Pimm said another hearing would have to be held to decide whether Skelton was provoked and he was bailed until February 4 when he will be sentenced.