A MAN almost died and had to have part of his skull removed after long-standing jealousy turned to violence.

Fairground boss Lawrence Hill had an affair with victim Simon Perry's wife before they married several years ago, but resentments remained and, when both men were in the Spread Eagle pub at Kearsley one evening they went outside to "sort matters out".

But Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard how, after talking for several minutes in the car park behind the pub, Hill began to walk away before suddenly turning and hitting Mr Perry hard, with what Robert Elias, prosecuting, described as a "haymaker punch".

"It clearly wasn't self defence. He struck the first, and in the event, the only blow. This was a pre-emptive strike. The best the defence could claim was that the defendant was, to use a rugby phrase, 'getting his retaliation in first'," said Mr Elias.

The Bolton News: Lawrence HillLawrence Hill

He added that the consequences were "devastating" with Mr Perry being knocked unconscious and hitting his head on the ground.

Mr Perry suffered several fractures to his face and skull and bleeding on the brain, undergoing emergency surgery and several operations to repair the damage, including inserting metal plates.

"What it comes down to is that most of his forehead was removed to save his life," said Mr Elias.

Father-of-two Mr Perry spent 10 weeks in a coma and a total of six months in hospital before being allowed home.

But the court heard that the stress has now ended his marriage, he is unable to continue his job as a construction site manager and epileptic seizures he now suffers from mean that he cannot drive or have unsupervised contact with his children.

"In no way am I exaggerating when I say my life has been ruined," said Mr Perry, in a victim statement read out in court.

Hill, aged 39, who is from the well-known Bolton fairground family, initially denied causing grievous bodily harm but changed his plea to guilty on the day of trial.

He was jailed for 32 months with Judge John Potter telling him he had devastated Mr Perry's life.

"Mr Hill, you are responsible for that, nobody else," said the judge.

"Medical evidence illustrates Mr Perry very nearly died as a result of that one blow you administered to him."

The court had heard how bad feeling between the men was as a result of a long-standing jealousy stemming from a brief affair Hill had with Amie Perry before she met her husband, Simon.

Mr Elias said Amie ended the relationship with Hill when she learnt he was married and she subsequently settled down to a happy family life with Mr Perry.

But the men shared mutual acquaintances and drank in the same pubs and, on the night of September 29, 2018, they were both in the Spread Eagle pub on Manchester Road, Kearsley.

The Bolton News: Spread EagleSpread Eagle

Hill had drunk around eight pints and used cocaine. "He decided to sort matters out with Mr Perry and draw a line under their issues and he invited him to step outside the pub," said Mr Elias.

After hitting Mr Perry Hill, of Windley Street, Bolton, rang 999 and left the scene, handing himself into police the next day.

"When he left Mr Perry unconscious on the floor in a pool of blood, he must had realised he had caused a serious injury," said Mr Elias, who added that Hill initially claimed his victim had fallen and then that he had been defending himself.

Michael Johnson, defending, stressed that Hill is of previous good character and, when the two men had gone outside the pub, there was no intention to cause violence.

"This was a highly spontaneous, in the heat-of-the-moment, reaction to the circumstances," said Mr Johnson.

"His remorse is genuine."

Judge Potter told Hill: "I agree with your learned counsel that it is a sad state of affairs that a man such as you, aged 39, finds yourself in the dock of a criminal court facing sentence for serious offending for the first, and I anticipate, the only, time in your life."