A JOHNSTONE thug who knocked a stranger unconscious with a single punch after a night out has been told he was lucky he didn’t kill his victim.

Jon Templeton, of Cartside Avenue, punched Daniel Frew in the face in a “totally unprovoked” attack, causing his victim to fall and strike his head on the pavement.

The punch left Mr Frew with a cut to his lip which had to be stitched closed, and the blow to his head left him bloodied and unconscious.

And this week, after Templeton admitted his guilt over the assault on Mr Frew during a hearing at Paisley Sheriff Court, a judge told the thug he could have been facing a murder charge over the incident.

Sheriff Colin Pettigrew said: “I’m concerned about the assault. Clearly, it was of some force.

You’re fortunate the injuries to Mr Frew are not any more life threatening.

“Striking someone on the head, you might find yourself in the High Court, and that person might find themselves suffering a fatality.”

Procurator fiscal depute Frank Clarke told the court how trouble flared after Templeton and Mr Frew passed in Paisley town centre while they were on nights out on February 23 this year.

The prosecutor explained: “The accused and Mr Frew are not, nor were they, known to each other at the time, nor were they present in the company of each other.

“Shortly after 1.30am Mr Frew and his friend were returning from Vienna’s nightclub, in Paisley, and the accused, with two friends, was walking in the same direction.

“The accused Templeton, and his friends, but more so Mr Templeton, was under the influence of alcohol, and this was observed from his gait and the manner in which he was conducting himself.

“They turned off of New Street in to High Street. He approached Mr Frew and punched him.

“The punch was of sufficient force to knock Mr Frew to the ground and render him unconscious, for what’s described as around 30 seconds. 

“Mr Frew had no recollection of events immediately proceeding the punch until he was sitting at the Cenotaph being attended to by police officers.”

Mr Frew was taken first to the Royal Alexandra Hospital, and then the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, for treatment, including five sutures in his bottom lip, leaving him scarred for life.

Templeton was tracked on CCTV footage and arrested over what the court was told was a “totally unprovoked” assault.

But he was released from custody on an undertaking to appear at court, rather than being held in custody - a decision Sheriff Pettigrew criticised.

And, after hearing from defence solicitor David Nicholson that either Mr Frew or his friend had verbally provoked Templeton, the judge deferred sentence for background reports - and warned jail was an option when Templeton returns to the dock next month to be sentenced.

He said: “I must have all competent disposals open to me - and that must include a custodial disposal.”

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