THIS is the sickening moment a thug kicked another man in the face as he bent down to tie his shoelaces.
The video footage emerged during a court hearing to sentence yob Vitalijis Zavjalovs for the senseless attack on reveller Brian Gallagher.
Sharp intakes of breath were heard from the bench as the CCTV footage was shown at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court.
Zavjalovs, of New Market Street, Wigan, pleaded guilty to a charge of assault by beating.
In the video he is seen running towards Mr Gallagher before kicking his defenceless victim hard in the face and knocking him unconscious. CCTV cameras then capture Zavjalovs and a friend laughing as they escape from the scene.
The savagery of the assault prompted the court’s presiding magistrate to say he was “sick and tired” of late-night violence on Wigan’s King Street.
But JPs stopped short of jailing 22-year-old Zavjalovs and instead handed him a suspended custodial sentence, warning him he was “extremely lucky” not to be going to prison immediately.
The footage, taken from Wigan town centre cameras on the night of December 7 last year, showed Zavjalovs strike Mr Gallagher after leaving a King Street club causing him to fall backwards “knocking him out” and causing cuts to his face and lips.
The presiding magistrate told Zavjalovs: “This was a particularly nasty incident. It made me wince watching it just now. It was a vicious attack. We are sick and tired of seeing incidents like this in Wigan town centre.
“You kicked his head as if it was a football, he had no way of defending himself and he did not know it was even coming. You used a weapon - your foot - we believe it deserves a custodial sentence but you have been shown leniency because you have shown remorse and it was an isolated incident and you have previous good character.”
Pointing to the door in the dock leading to the cells, he added: “You are extremely lucky you are not leaving this court through that door.”
Zavjalovs told the court he was “very ashamed” of the incident. The presiding magistrate said: “So you ought to be.”
Karen Schofield, defending, said: “His recollection of the incident is somewhat vague. He had consumed an extremely large quantity of alcohol. He does not go out regularly at weekends, he cannot put forward any legitimate reason why he drank this much on this occasion.”
The court was told Zavjalovs had been drinking steadily from 8pm until when the incident occurred at just before 4am.
Ms Schofield added: “When shown the footage, he could not recall any arguments and he could not recognise the victim. He is a man who is not a violent individual. He regrets what happened and is remorseful that he caused injury to a male that simply he does not know.”
Zavjalovs received a four month custodial sentence suspended for 12 months with a specified activity requirement. He will also have to undertake 250 hours of unpaid work, pay £600 compensation to the victim, a £80 victim surcharge and £85 costs, a total of £765.
WE PUBLISH THE CCTV FOOTAGE WITH A WARNING TO ANYONE WHO WISHES TO VIEW IT - THAT IT CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT