A BLACKBURN man was left lying by the side of the road with a fractured skull after an unprovoked town centre attack, a jury heard.

A woman who witnessed the assault on Shaun Baxendale outside the Ibiza Bar in the early hours of Sunday, May 17, said she thought the victim was dead.

Today during the opening of the trial of Bernard Martin Holmes, 25, of Coleridge Street, Blackburn, who is charged with wounding with intent, the jury sat in silence as CCTV of the incident was played in court.

Holmes has already admitted the assault, which left Mr Baxendale needing part of his skull removed to relieve the pressure on his brain, but denies intent to cause serious injury.

Rowena Goode, prosecuting, told the jury Mr Baxendale had been out in Blackburn town centre with two friends Linda Holden and Gemma Thelwell.

Just before 2am the trio were standing outside the Ibiza Bar, when another group containing Holmes, Gary Vickers and his girlfriend Scarlett Bradley, left the same bar and crossed the road.

The CCTV showed Mr Vickers returning back over Mincing Lane and striking Mr Baxendale, then walking away with his arm aloft.

Holmes then followed with two punches, the second of which, according to the prosecution, knocked Mr Baxendale to the ground.

He his his head on th pavement and was left unconscious.

Ms Goode said: “He did not achieve his objective with the first punch and wished to knock Mr Baxendale out. The second blow achieved that and he walked off content. That shows intent.

“He suffered a very serious injury. Although initially stable, after a few days his condition deteriorated and he was found to have an extremely bad skull fracture and bruising to the brain. Doctors had to remove part of his skull to relieve the pressure.

“He's making slow progress but is not back to normal.”

The court heard Mr Baxendale was left with no recollection of the incident.

Giving evidence, Ms Thelwell said that after Mr Vickers punched Mr Baxendale, she walked off to ring a taxi and then heard the sickly thud of Mr Baxendale hitting the floor from Holmes' punch.

She said: “I walked back and Shaun was on the floor. I thought he was dead. I heard Shaun's head hit the floor. He didn't move at all.”

The court heard there had been an earlier exchange of words inside the bar between Mr Baxendale and Mr Vickers over his girlfriend Ms Bradley.