Drunk jailed for four and half years for punching man

A DRUNK who almost killed a man with a single punch was jailed for four and a half years today.

Gary Holgate, 22, had been put on bail six times before the near-fatal encounter at a house in Gorebridge, Midlothian, last October

Holgate’s last court appearance had been just 11 days before he punched Jamie Cook, 24, putting him in intensive care.

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At the High Court in Edinburgh, refuse collector Holgate of Hercus Loan, Musselburgh, East Lothian, admitted assaulting Mr Cook to the danger of his life, leaving him scarred and permanently impaired.

Advocate depute Douglas Fairley QC told judge Lord Bannatyne that Holgate already had a record for breach of the peace, violence and breaching court orders.

He has been jailed twice for assaults and is currently serving a 28 month jail term.

While in the the Royal Infirmary hospital’s accident and emergency department Mr Cook’s nose started to bleed and he began to lose consciousness.

A CT scan revealed bleeding inside his skull - although no bones were broken.

After an emergency operation, Mr Cook spent a day or so in intensive care before being transferred to a ward then allowed home, a week after the attack.

Three days later he had to return to hospital suffering from headaches and swelling to his wound.

Mr Fairley said the surgery had left Mr Cook with “a significant scar” extending from his ear to the middle of his head.

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“The injuries to Mr Cook were life-threatening in the absence of surgical intervention,” added the prosecutor.

Today, solicitor advocate Krista Johnston, defending, said Holgate had expressed remorse for what had happened to Mr Cook and for causing an “extremely regrettable” injury.

“He doesn’t shy away from accepting his responsibility with regard to the attack,” said the lawyer.

Lord Bannatyne ordered the prison sentence to begin at the end of Holgate’s present jail term and extended the time he will remain on licence, after his release, by two and a half years.