A drunken charity shop worker attacked a complete stranger during a night out in Bideford after mistaking him for a bully who had tormented him at school 30 years earlier.

John Fackrell launched three unprovoked attacks on the victim and left him unconscious in the road.

He suffered severe facial injuries and a bleed on his brain.

The attacker had been drinking lager and vodka and had no memory of why he carried out the attack, but his ex-wife told police he thought the victim had bullied him at school.

Fackrell, aged 48, of Hilltop Road, Bideford, admitted causing grievous bodily harm and was jailed for 16 months, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 200 hours unpaid community work by Judge Peter Johnson at Exeter Crown Court on Tuesday, December 4.

The judge said the attack was serious because it left the victim with permanent scarring to his face and a fear of going out in town late at night.

Judith Constable, prosecuting, the attack happened in the centre of Bideford in the early hours of March 31 this year after Fackrell had been drinking at the Caesar’s nightclub.

Town centre CCTV footage showed Fackrell and his ex partner walking past the victim, who was stood in a doorway, and then turning back to remonstrate with him.

Fackrell pushed him to the ground, walked away, and then came back and aimed a kick at his head.

He walked away again but returned for a second time and punched him to the ground.

He suffered a broken nose, facial cuts, and two black eyes and spent two nights in hospital after being diagnosed with a bleed on the brain.

Ms Newton told police the motive for the attack was that Fackrell believed the victim, who was two years his senior, was one of the people who had bullied him at school more than 30 years earlier.

Richard Crabb, defending, said Fackrell was very drunk and had no recollection of who he had hit, let alone why.

He said he works part time at an RSPCA shop, has no record of violence, and was acting completely out of character.