A MAN left seriously brain damaged after an attack by a stranger in a bar was unconscious before he hit the ground, a court was told.

David Morton Thomas (pictured), 38, from Johnstown was punched to the ground at the Temple Bar in Chester city centre.

Yesterday at Chester Crown Court his attacker, Alan Junior Gilmartin, admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Gilmartin, 30, of Sycamore Drive, Lache, Chester admitted punching Mr Thomas once.

Mr Thomas suffered a serious head injury in the incident, which happened shortly before 11.30pm on Friday, March 19.

He was initially taken to the Countess of Chester hospital but was then transferred to the specialist head injuries unit at Walton hospital in Liverpool.

The court was told he remained “gravely ill” and was now at the Maelor hospital, under 24-hour nursing care.

Wyn Lloyd-Jones, prosecuting, said Mr Thomas was now awake but could not communicate with anyone.

He added: “He is being fed through a gastric tube and there are plans to fit a gastric plug to feed him through his stomach. He would need general anaesthetic to carry out this procedure and this of course brings serious risks, as well as the risk of infection.”

A court was told the men, who did not know each other, were in the Temple Bar when the incident took place.

Mr Lloyd-Jones said Gilmartin was with a woman and had taken drugs and had been drinking.

He told the court: “He pushed him with his left hand and then punched him with his right and he went straight to the floor. Onlookers said he looked like he was already unconscious when he fell to the floor as he hit the floor so hard.”

Gilmartin was remanded in custody and will be sentenced on Thursday, July 29.

The severe injuries suffered by Mr Thomas have shocked friends and neighbours throughout his home community of Johnstown.

One of Mr Thomas’ best friends is boyhood pal Ian Powell of Moreton Avenue. They have known each other since they were pupils at Ysgol Y Grango in Rhos.

“So many people in Johnstown are devastated by what has happened to David. All our thoughts are with his family and we are praying that he will be able to make a full recovery,” Mr Powell said.