A MAN'S eye socket was smashed when he was punched in the face in a late-night confrontation in Skipton, Bradford Crown Court heard.

Andrew Dickinson needed surgery to insert a titanium plate to repair the fracture after he was knocked to the ground by Andrew Lowe near The Fleece public house on April 8.

Lowe, 27, pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm on Mr Dickinson.

He was sentenced to nine months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with 200 hours of unpaid work and 30-day rehabilitation activity requirement with the probation service.

Lowe was also ordered to obey a three month curfew order and pay Mr Dickinson £1,500 compensation.

Duncan Ritchie, prosecuting, said the trouble began with a verbal exchange between Lowe and a boy aged 16. Lowe then shoved the teenager and the boy punched him in the stomach.

Mr Dickinson then pulled Lowe away from the boy and a doorman intervened to break up the altercation.

Lowe was told to calm down but, after stepping away from Mr Dickinson, he punched him hard in the face once, knocking him to the ground.

Mr Dickinson was believed to be unconscious for a while, his eyes were open and he was unresponsive.

Two passing police officers caught Lowe making off from the scene.

Mr Dickinson suffered broken bones to the left side of his face, including a fractured eye socket. His prognosis was good but the surgeon thought he might suffer from double vision in the future.

In his victim personal statement, Mr Dickinson said he now socialised less and was afraid of being attacked again.

He was still in extreme pain in August and the ordeal would remain with him for the rest of his life.

Lowe, of Railway Street, Nelson, Lancashire, had 27 previous convictions for 48 offences, including battery and disorderly conduct.

His barrister, Stephen Wood, said he had last been convicted of an offence of violence ten years ago.

He initially acted in lawful self defence but conceded that, in the heat of the moment, he then acted unlawfully.

He was a working man whose behaviour was out of character, and he was very remorseful.

Judge David Hatton QC made a restraining order banning Lowe from contacting Mr Dickinson or the 16-year-old boy.