A MAN who twice attacked a stranger in the head outside a pub in Neston has been spared an immediate prison term.

Kane Aaron Christopher Wren, 21, of Shakespeare Road, Neston, pleaded guilty to assaulting victim Roy Paton on the night of September 14, 2019.

At Chester Magistrates Court on Friday, March 20, Wren was told he was very close to going to prison, but was instead handed a suspended sentence.

Prosecuting, Amanda York said Mr Paton had been in a pub with his friend and at 12.35am went outside to the smoking area.

He was approached by a woman saying she had lost her handbag. Mr Paton replied she should not have left the handbag lying around.

Mr Paton and his friend then finished their cigarettes and were about to return inside the pub when Mr Paton felt a blow to the back of his head which caused him to fall to the floor.

When he got back up, he was hit with a second blow, and fell to the floor again.

Once back inside the pub, he was made aware that blood was running down his face and bar staff called the police.

The attacker, Wren, was not present when police arrived, but CCTV footage identified him and he was arrested.

In police interview, Wren said he could not remember anything about the attack, and would not have acted in that way if he was sober, but did identify himself as the attacker.

He had three previous convictions for six offences, three of them against the person.

A victim impact statement said Mr Paton suffered from anxiety and stress since the attack, and was wary of anything behind him.

He had suffered severe bruising to his ribs and could not take time off work which meant his job, which involved lifting heavy pallets, caused him pain.

Defending, Steve Coupe said it was a prompt guilty plea by Wren.

The offence was committed in drink and Wren explained he had thought the comment made by the victim was more lurid than what was said, and the attack was "completely unjustified".

Wren had a difficult time as an adolescent but had done some growing up in recent years.

A probation report heard Wren had disputed the prosecution's version of events, but had no recollection if the offence.

Wren said a friend had said the victim had made the inappropriate comment, but accepted he should not have acted in that way.

He said the victim had reported the attack "to make a claim", which the probation officer said that meant Wren was not showing much remorse, and presented himself as immature.

But he had reduced his alcohol intake and changed his peer group since the attack.

The probation officer spoke highly of Wren's responsibility in looking after his family, which was "beyond his years".

Wren had been diagnosed with anxiety and depression but his mental health had improved recently.

Prison would have an impact on that mental health and his family would also suffer as a result.

After a lengthy adjournment, chair of magistrates Alf Bean told Wren: "My colleagues and I have been out for some time.

"The manner in which you attacked him was not acceptable.

"On March 31, 2017, there are three separate cases for battery. Within a two-year period you are back before the court in another nasty assault.

"Whilst you are not going to go to prison today, we want you to know how close you came to prison.

"You are in a last-chance saloon. You need to up your game to stop assaulting people."

Wren was handed a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months. During those 18 months he must complete 35 days of a rehabilitation activity requirement and 100 hours unpaid work.

He must pay £100 compensation to Mr Paton, plus a £122 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.

He was made the subject of a restraining order, which means he must not contact Mr Paton in any way for the next 12 months.