An RAF technician who left a colleague with devastating injuries after attacking him in a Stamford nightclub has been jailed for 18 months.
David Reynolds, a qualified amateur boxing coach, struck his victim Lee Fullerton with a single punch which knocked him to the floor during the attack in the toilets of the Central Nightclub, Lincoln Crown Court heard.
Sgt Fullerton, who was on a night out with colleagues at RAF Wittering on a joint birthday and leaving party, fell instantly, striking his head on the metal edge of the urinal.
Phil Howes, prosecuting, said the victim was knocked out cold. He had to be taken out by ambulance staff on a spinal board and after being taken to hospital in Peterborough was transferred to Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge with severe brain injuries.
Sgt Fullerton spent seven days in a critical condition and following his eventual release from hospital he continued his treatment at the armed forces rehabilitation centre at Headley Court.
He returned to duties in December but has been switched to an administration role and currently is only able to work part-time.
Reynolds,33, who at the time was also stationed at RAF Wittering and lived on the base, admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm on February 3, 2012.
Mr Howes said that earlier in the evening Sgt Fullerton and two other men were involved in a fight with Reynolds but that incident ended without any serious injury.
Reynolds later followed Sgt Fullerton into the toilets and threw a left-handed punch which struck the side of Fullerton’s head. A follow-up punch failed to connect.
Mr Howes said: “This was an attack which left the victim with life-changing injuries. It was a pre-meditated retaliation.
“Lee Fullerton suffered major brain injury from the chain of events following the punch. This has had a major impact on his life.
“He was a keen sportsman but he cannot do that any more. He cannot run and he cannot ride a bike. He talks about being a shadow of his former self.”
Gordon Aspden, defending, said Reynolds had drunk eight pints on the night and his judgement was clouded by the amount of alcohol.
He said Reynolds had an excellent service record and was in line for promotion because of his skills as a technician.
“His judgement was clouded by alcohol. He misjudged the situation and struck out. The consequences suffered by Lee Fullerton were not intended by this defendant nor were they foreseen by him.”
Mr Aspden said Reynolds is full of remorse and has now virtually abstained from alcohol.
Judge Michael Heath told Reynolds: “You followed him into the toilets because you wanted revenge for what happened earlier. He was utterly defenceless. He had no opportunity to defend himself.
“This is a case which is so serious that the only sentence I can justify is a custodial sentence, notwithstanding all the good things that have been said about you and notwithstanding that you are a valued member of her majesty’s armed forces.”
Reynolds, who was transferred from Wittering to RAF Waddington following his arrest, now faces dismissal from the service.