A FORMER soldier who hit his friend on the head with a broken bottle during a nightclub attack has been jailed.

Burnley Crown Court heard the bottle of beer smashed after Graeme Kelly, 47, initially hit victim Dean Cotterill on the top of the head during the early morning incident in Smackwater Jacks, Burnley.

But Kelly, of Fielden Street, Burnley, then struck Mr Cotterill for a second time to the side of the face, causing a cut to the cheek and neck.

That injury required 21 stitches and has left Mr Cotterill, who spent three days in hospital receiving treatment, with a scar to the cheek and neck.

Prosecutor Adam Lodge said the attack happened at around 1.30am on January 21 and followed tension between other men known to the defendant and victim.

The court heard that father-of-two Kelly, who was due to get married next year, had invited Mr Cotterill to a party at his house around 10 hours before the attack.

But Mr Cotterill instead decided to go drinking in Burnley with his cousin.

The men did eventually meet up at Smackwater Jacks but an argument took place between Mr Cotterill’s cousin and one of Kelly’s friends. That resulted in Mr Cotterill’s cousin being escorted from the premises.

It was after that incident the altercation between Kelly, who had served in the army for nearly 20 years, and Mr Cotterill took place.

Kelly, who has worked at Warburtons for the last 10 years, denied a single charge of wounding with intent but was found guilty by a jury.

Defending, Phillip Holden said his client was a man whose life had been turned upside down by a moment of madness.

Mr Holden said: “There is a weapon but it can’t be said that it is one of those cases where the weapon was taken to hand to commit the offence. There was no pre-meditation. There seems to have been a coming together of the heads and a heated exchange before the incident takes place. The bottle was already in his hand because the evidence was he was drinking out of it.

“My client is a hard-working man who will lose his job. He is a man who is going to lose his rented accommodation. He was due to get married next year. To say he is devastated by the jury’s verdict is an understatement.”

Judge Sara Dodd said: “You used a bottle as a weapon twice. The second time after it had broken. I accept however this was spontaneous and there was no pre-meditation on your behalf."

“You are entitled to rely on your background, your lack of previous convictions for violence, your good work record and in particularly your service in the army for this country.”

Judge Dodd jailed Kelly for three years.