A DRUNKEN thug kicked a soldier in the head as he was lying unconscious in a pool of blood.
Alan Meldrum, 26, narrowly escaped jail when he was sentenced at Livingston Sheriff Court yesterday and was instead ordered to pay his victim, squaddie Liam Buist, £1500 in compensation.
He was also sentenced to 224 hours of unpaid work in the community as part of an 18-month supervision order.
The court was told that Mr Buist – who was holding a “returning home” party for his friends in Blackburn, West Lothian – needed 11 staple stitches in a head wound after being attacked by Meldrum in the street outside his home.
Michael Deacon, prosecuting, said guests at the Saturday night party had been drinking for six hours when a group, including the accused, gathered outside.
When Mr Buist went out to speak to them the accused punched him once to the head, causing him to fall and strike the back of his head on the kerb.
Mr Deacon said: “The complainer appeared not to be moving and the accused ran forward and kicked him to the head.
“Individuals at the party ran out to his aid. He was motionless but breathing, conscious and incoherent.”
Mr Buist was taken by ambulance to St John’s Hospital in Livingston for treatment.
Peter Mullin, defending, said Meldrum had offered to sell shares worth £2000 to pay compensation to Mr Buist.