'You have avoided jail by a whisker': Thug inflicted brain damage on rival during Boxing Day street fight
A thug who inflicted a serious brain injury to a rival during a Boxing Day street fight has avoided jail "by a whisker".
Levi Cutting, 27, knocked the victim unconscious and left him bleeding on the pavement following the brawl on Leeds Road, Castleford.
The incident was caught on CCTV footage and showed both men fighting on the road after removing their t-shirts.
Cutting was told by a judge at Leeds Crown Court that he narrowly avoided being locked up because there was an "element of provocation" and that his partner was pregnant with their child.
Helena Williams, prosecuting, said Cutting had been at a party at Cutsyke Sports and Social Club that evening, December 26, 2019, when his uncle told him he had just got into a disagreement with a group of men at his home.
Cutting then left the club and went to the house where he was heard shouting: "Who is bullying who?"
After entering the property, Cutting tussled with the victim before telling him "let's sort it outside", which the victim agreed on.
It appeared to be resolved minutes later when the men shook hands, but Cutting then charged at another man and threw him to the floor.
Cutting and the victim began fighting again before the defendant delivered the final blow to his head.
The victim fell and struck his head on the ground.
Two neighbours came to his aid.
He was rushed to hospital where a CT scan showed he had a traumatic brain injury and was taken to critical care.
Surgeons had to operate to ease the swelling on his brain and save the man's life.
He eventually left hospital in January 2020, but continues to suffer seizures and headaches, is deaf in his left ear and his short-term memory loss has been affected.
He has also been left unsteady on his feet.
The court was told that Cutting has nine previous convictions for 17 offences, including battery.
Richard Canning, mitigating, said: "The two of them were fighting, the victim struck the first blow.
"It is not the same as somebody who was minding their own business."
Recorder Ashley Serr gave Cutting a 14-month jail term, suspended for 24 months.
He must also take part in a rehabilitation programme and do 100 hours of unpaid work.
He told him: "Make no mistake, you have avoided prison by a whisker.
"Your actions have probably changed a man's life forever."