A construction manager who left a man paralysed in a one-punch attack has walked free from court.
The victim, Mark Burrows, aged 35, has required round-the-clock care and been unable to speak since he was knocked to the ground while enjoying a night out in Sheffield city centre last April.
Trainee scaffolder Mr Burrows suffered catastrophic brain injuries when Joshua Henry Corker, aged 23, dealt the blow in Leopold Street.
The pair had become involved in a row after a drunk Corker, of Chapeltown, heard the victim make a passing remark at his group of pals as they sang Sheffield United chants.
Mr Burrows, from Wigan, was hooked up to a life suport machine in the wake of the attack and was eventually moved to a high-dependency unit, where he remains today.
He requires 24-hour care and is unable to feed, wash or look after himself in any way. He cannot speak.
His mother Christine, aged 57, said: “My son has been through a hellish time. He has fought for his life on many occasions and has been at the brink of death.
“He was looking forward to settling down in the future with a family of his own. Now, after all these months, we do not know if he will be any better than he is today.”
The court heard that while the victim’s family have been trying to raise money for equipment to care for Mr Burrows at home, Corker has completed a degree in construction management and been promoted by employer Barratt Homes.
Mr Burrows’ father wept in the public gallery as Corker was given a two-year suspended prison sentence.
Judge Simon Lawler QC said: “This is a tragic case for all involved.
“While Mr Burrows’ family are understandably devastated, you are too. You are of positive, very good character. I suspect you were uncharacteristically inhibited by drink.
“No sentence can bring back what has come to pass. I cannot say the public interest or interest of the family demands I sentence you to immediate custody.”
Corker, of White Lane, Chapeltown, must also complete 270 hours of unpaid work and a six-month curfew order.