A THUG who left a father-of-four in a coma fighting for his life following a brutal late-night attack has been jailed.

Daryl Noake, of Southmead Crescent in Crewkerne, punched and stamped on the head of 36-year-old accountant Daniel Barrett as he walked home from a night out, leaving him with brain damage and life-threatening injuries.

Noake, 30, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm and wept as he was jailed for three-and-a-half years following the attack in Crewkerne last year.

Sentencing him at Taunton Crown Court, Judge David Ticehurst said: “When Mr Barrett was in hospital he was effectively unconscious for nine days. There was severe lung damage that was life threatening and he suffered bruises to his brain.

“The damage that you have inflicted on his family is incalculable. It is clear that you are a young man for whom violence is no stranger.

“I have sympathy with the difficulties you have had in your life but I also have a duty to protect the public from dangerous individuals.”

Prosecuting, William Hunter told the court on Friday that Mr Barrett, of Crewkerne, had been out celebrating a friend’s birthday at the Swan Inn on September 21.

It was said he left the pub at around 1.30am, walked home along North Street and a group of men made remarks to him.

When Mr Barrett asked them who said it, witnesses reported seeing a gang of three men punch and kick him against a wall.

The court heard how the case against two other men was dismissed due to insufficient evidence.

Mr Hunter said: “The next thing Mr Barrett remembers is waking up in hospital nine days later. He thought he was dying.”

A victim impact statement read to the court told how he could not remember his youngest child and no longer enjoyed going out.

He has also been left with a limp, breathing difficulties, brain damage and has no sense of taste or smell.

Defending, Derek Perry said his client had an ‘extremely troubled’ background and his ‘happy go-lucky’ nature was ‘a front’.

Mr Perry added: “The sad irony of cases that come before the courts is that those that inflict damage on others have themselves been victims of real harm.

“This was not a case where Daryl Noake was looking for trouble. He flipped and completely over-reacted.”