A BRUTE who knocked a stranger unconscious with a single punch has been spared jail – after being told he could have killed his victim and been charged with murder.

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

The 22-year-old tannery worker admitted his guilt during a hearing at Paisley Sheriff Court last month and returned to the dock on Monday to learn his fate.

Sheriff Colin Pettigrew slammed Templeton over his conduct – but spared him jail.

He told him: “You could be in the High Court, facing a much more serious charge, and the victim might not be with us at all.”

Sheriff Pettigrew pointed out that, when sentencing, a judge has to take into account “punishment, restitution and deterrence,” as well as previous convictions and the capacity for their rehabilitation.

He added: “Having said all that, a custodial sentence isn’t the only appropriate disposal and, therefore, it should not be imposed.”

Sheriff Pettigrew placed Templeton, who works from 6am to 2pm, Monday to Friday, on a Restriction of Liberty Order for four months. That will see him fitted with an electronic tag and having to remain within his home from 8pm to 5am every day.

He was also placed on a year-long Community Payback Order which will see him carrying out 252 hours of unpaid work. 

Procurator fiscal depute Frank Clarke previously told the court how trouble flared after Templeton and Mr Frew, who had both been enjoying a night out, passed each other in Paisley town centre on February 23 this year.

He said: “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.”