A Tain man who stamped on the head of a drinking friend more than half a dozen times was jailed for 17 months at Inverness Sheriff Court yesterday.
Steven Scutt had been watching football on television with 42-year-old Daniel Harkness in Sutherland Street on September 10 last year.
But Inverness Sheriff Court heard that when he got up to leave and said he was going home, he was followed by Harkness outside and attacked.
He lay bleeding in the alleyway where Harkness had dragged him from outside his home address.
However, a witness saw Harkness trying to deflect suspicion away from himself and alerted the police.
Mr Scutt was spoken to by officers in Raigmore Hospital, Inverness where his injuries were treated. He suffered cuts and bruising to above his left eye, a cut to his left ear, reddening to his right eye and an abrasion to the back of his head.
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He told them: “I don’t understand why he would do that as we had been getting on fine.”
However, Harkness’s lawyer, Marc Dickson told Sheriff Margaret Neilson before sentencing, that his client claimed Mr Scutt had become aggressive on his way out.
Mr Dickson added: “My client thought he was about to be assaulted but it does not amount to self defence. They were not great friends but occasional drinking partners.
“Mr Harkness bears him no ill will and bitterly regrets what happened.”
Harkness, who is currently serving a six months jail sentence for an earlier disturbance in Tain, admitted a charge of assault to injury and danger of life.
He also pleaded guilty to spitting on a police officer as he was being taken to the police station in Inverness.
Although Harkness had claimed it was an unknown person who had committed the assault, blood-staining on his clothing and right shoe contained Mr Scutt’s DNA.