A 'DANGEROUSLY violent' offender battered a man so badly he stopped breathing while horrified witnesses looked on.

Mobile phone video of the attack, which took place in the graveyard of St Peter's Church, Bournemouth, showed Kevin McDermott repeatedly circling his unconscious victim before kicking him in the head.

The footage also captured the screams of an onlooker who begged McDermott, 26, to stop.

Police rushed to the graveyard at 5.15pm on April 15 this year. One, PC Bowes, gave victim Karl Burns CPR until the air ambulance landed nearby.

Mr Burns was rushed to Southampton General Hospital in a life-threatening condition. Yesterday, a court heard he will continue to need treatment and support after suffering several bleeds to the brain, a fracture at the base of his skull and fractures to both sides of his jaw.

Tom Wright, prosecuting at Bournemouth Crown Court, said Mr Burns, 51, was unconscious and "completely helpless" when McDermott kicked and stamped on his head. A teenage girl also briefly joined the attack by kicking Mr Burns in the legs, it was alleged.

The two had been drinking heavily together when they became involved in a disagreement. Mr Burns then smashed a bottle over the back of McDermott's head, leaving a deep wound which required seven stitches.

McDermott retaliated by punching Mr Burns so hard he passed out on hitting the ground. The defendant, of Gardens View in Southcote Road, Springbourne, then launched his savage attack.

Mr Wright said the victim's "long-term prognosis" remains "unclear". However, some neurological damage may be attributable to his use of drink and drugs, it was heard.

Timothy Compton, mitigating, alleged the initial row broke out over Mr Burns' behaviour towards a 16-year-old girl who was sleeping rough.

"The defendant is a classic example of a person with a traumatic childhood compensating for some of the trauma through misuse of substances, and particularly alcohol," Mr Compton said.

"A number of down-and-outs were in a local churchyard drinking. As a result of a conversation between Mr McDermott and the victim, the victim took offence. He then struck Mr McDermott from behind with a bottle."

McDermott, who already has some 34 court appearances for 71 offences, admitted committing grievous bodily harm with intent.

The court heard most of his previous convictions relate to "relatively low-key anti-social behaviour", although he's also committed at least ten assaults, many of which were against police officers.

Judge Robert Pawson said McDermott attacked Mr Burns for at least 45 seconds while the victim was unconscious and unable to defend himself. The incident involved some seven kicks, at least three stamps to his head and three punches, the court heard.

"You left the body and went back to it on two occasions," the judge told the defendant.

"You were intoxicated when you know that exacerbates your mental conditions."

As a result of the ferocity of the attack, Judge Pawson said he believes McDermott is dangerous, a legal definition which means the defendant represents a risk of serious harm to the public.

McDermott was sentenced to seven years in prison, of which he must serve at least two-thirds before a parole board can consider his release. He will then serve a further two years on licence.

At the end of the hearing, Judge Pawson hailed PC Bowes' behaviour as "exemplary" and said it may well have saved Mr Burns' life.