A young scaffolder from Denbigh who delivered a haymaker punch which knocked another man out has been saved from prison - after a direct appeal to a crown court judge from his victim.

Judge Rhys Rowlands told defendant Kristian Pierce that but for the generous views of victim Nicholas Ashton he would be going straight into custody.

Mr Ashton attended Mold Crown Court and said that since the incident he and the defendant had become very good friends and would socialise together.

He had apologised over and over for what he had done that night, he explained.

Pierce, 23, of Maes y Goron in Denbigh, admitted inflicting GBH on Mr Ashton, 47, outside The Hand in Lenton Pool, Denbigh, one night last November.

But in the circumstances, an 18-month prison sentence was suspended for two years and Pierce was placed on a six month curfew to remain indoors between 8pm and 5am.

He was ordered to pay his victim £3,000 in compensation together with £340 costs to the prosecution.

Judge Rowlands, who watched CCTV footage of the incident, described it was a haymaker punch outside licensed premises at night.

"Were it not for the generous, Christian views of the complainant you would be going into custody," he said.

He said he was grateful to Mr Ashton for writing to the court and for going out of his way to attend court to address him.

"Quite exceptionally, and entirely as a result of Mr Ashton's views, I am not sending you to prison," he said.

Clearly punishment was required.

He had been out drinking to excess and he would impose a curfew.

The judge said that he accepted that it was a on-off, and said the curfew would mean that he would not be in a position to go out drinking.

Prosecuting barrister Dafydd Roberts said that the defendant had admitted the offence at Llandudno magistrates' court on May 1.

Mr Ashton had been out watching rugby and having a drink in Denbigh, went to the home of a friend to watch the boxing, and then went to walk the dog.

He called at The Hand simply to use the toilets but did not do so when he saw a squabble involving a group of about six people.

Mr Ashton spoke to friends and the next thing he recalled was waking up on the floor outside the premises.

Mr Roberts played CCTV footage of the punch to the court

He said Mr Ashton was taken to Glan Clwyd Hospital at Bodelwyddan where he was found to have a fractured skull, dislodged teeth, two black eyes, and cuts to his forehead and left hand.

Interviewed, Pierce made full admissions.

In a victim impact statement, read by Mr Roberts, Mr Ashton said he had grown up in Denbigh, had not known the defendant at the time but knew his family.

Since the incident they had spent some time together and had become close friends.

He had accepted his apologies and genuinely believed he was remorseful.

"I believe it was a case of mistaken identity," he wrote.

Mr Ashton was then called forward to address the court.

He said that he wished to add that since the incident they had become "very good friends" meeting up a couple of times a week, going to football matches, to watch him play, or taking the dogs out for a walk.

"Every time we meet he has apologised over and over for what happened that evening, showing genuine remorse.

"I believe it to be totally out of character now I have got to know Kristian."

Mr Ashton said that he had told the defendant that he was not going to attend court.

"But I felt I should attend and support my friend," he explained to the judge.

Defending barrister Sarah Yates said that the defendant had made full and frank admissions.

He was a young man with no previous convictions who worked as a scaffolder for some three years and was due to qualify.

The defendant lived at home with his parents, had shown genuine remorse and was clearly very, very sorry for what he had done.

Miss Yates asked the court to take into account the views of the complainant who had been good enough to attend court to speak up on her client's behalf.