A MAN “ruined” the Christmas of a university student in a split second with a fearsome single punch which fractured his eye socket.

Jonathan Porter was home in Carlisle from university as he walked towards the city centre down Stanwix Bank to meet a friend at about 6.30pm on December 24. Moments before, Mr Porter had seen Luke Miller, 25, outside the Crown pub with a group of friends, forming the impression he was drunk.

“Mr Porter heard a man’s feet running behind him down the hill,” prosecutor Richard Haworth told Carlisle Crown Court. “He turned around and came face-to-face with the defendant (Miller). The defendant then punched him once to the face. The complainant felt instant pain. The defendant continued running across the (Eden) bridge to the city centre.”

“Bleeding quite profusely to the head”, Mr Porter initially tried to summon help from passing motorists before calling his father, who alerted police. Officers arrived and gave Mr Porter immediate first aid before he was taken to hospital.

Although fully conscious he suffered “horrendous bruising and swelling” to his face, and sustained a fractured eye socket. “The incident has affected me massively,” the student music producer said in an impact statement made days after the attack. “I feel I can’t go out of the house with my face the way it is now.”

Police traced Miller, of Skelwith Close, Carlisle, who admitted causing Mr Porter grievous bodily harm during his first court appearance.

Engineering company worker Miller – a man from a good family with no previous convictions, a long-term partner, and mortgage – was sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court on Thursday.

“It would be helpful if I was able to provide an explanation for why this young man, 25 and approaching 26, has troubled the court for the first time in his life,” said Jeff Smith, defending. “I can’t. The injured party in this case was totally innocent. There was no aggravation or provocation.”

Noting Miller’s lack of convictions and good work record, Judge David Potter imposed an 18-month community order and ordered him to complete rehabilitation, 120 hours’ unpaid work and pay Mr Porter £1,000 compensation.

“For reasons that defy any rational or sensible explanation you ran up to Mr Porter, struck him a fearsome blow with your fist which fractured his eye socket,” said the judge. “His Christmas, his new year and probably the first few months of 2020 were ruined by what you did to him in that split second.”