A REVELLER from Accrington who left a man in a coma in Bolton has escaped a jail sentence.

Qasab Ali, 26, only hit Paul Gahan once outside a venue in August 2016, Manchester Crown Court was told.

But after Mr Gahan fell to the ground, he struck his head on a kerb and suffered serious head injuries, the court heard.

Judge Elizabeth Nicholl, passing sentence, said she had taken into account the fact that Ali had handed himself in to police when he heard they were looking for him and he could have believed he was acting in "excessive self-defence".

While the judge stressed she had taken into account the extremely serious consequences of the punch, she was clear Ali had "no intention to cause serious injury".

Ali, of College Street, Accrington, who pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm, was given a 20-month suspended sentence and ordered to complete 150 hours community service.

Judge Nicholl also spoke of the defendant's family, reading a letter sent from his wife and discussing the man's parents who live in a home nearby and who he drives to their medical appointments.

In addition, the judge mentioned the child the family have on the way, which Ali would likely be the main carer for, as his wife is expected to return to full-time work.

Addressing Ali, she said: "This was a monumentally stupid action that has had a profound impact both on the victim and yourself."

But the judge added: "The trauma of this incident lives with his family and will remain with his family for many years to come. No conviction or sentence that I can pass will take away that trauma."

The family of Mr Gahan, aged 48, who spent 12 days in hospital after the attack, expressed their fury at the judge's ruling later.

The court heard he now suffers recurring headaches and mood swings and has been left without a sense of taste or smell. He is also said to struggle with his family life and his work as a roofer.

His wife Debra said after the case: "He' s been left with a disability for the rest of his life and this man has been able to walk free."

Mr Gahan's father Thomas added: "It's a farce. If that's justice I'll never be anywhere near a court again in my life. He nearly killed him and he won't get jailed. I don’t think we have got any closure now and it will affect us all for the rest of our lives."