A MAN who punched a stranger during a "sickening" unprovoked attack attempted to swim out to sea minutes after the incident.

Frankie Martin, 28, was on a family holiday in Weymouth when he ran up to Andrew Casserley on the night of July 10 and punched him in the jaw.

CCTV footage shown to a judge sitting at Bournemouth Crown Court on Friday showed Martin “working himself up” by slapping his sides before suddenly running across the road and swinging for Mr Casserley.

The victim was knocked unconscious as a result of the attack.

Martin then ran from the scene and caught up with his friend, who in the meantime had become involved in a brawl with a group of men. Martin joined in, and the two were captured once again by CCTV operatives as they threw punches.

The operatives followed the journey of Martin and his friend as they ran towards the seafront. The two men then stripped off and began to swim out to sea.

Emergency services were called and both men had to be “fished out” before they were arrested.

Footage of the defendant wrapped in a towel and being led to a police car was shown.

He later admitted causing grievous bodily harm without intent and two counts of assault by beating.

Martin’s friend admitted two counts of battery at a separate court and was sentenced to a 12-month community order with 200 hours of unpaid work.

Simon Jones, prosecuting, said: “What happens after the fight is that the two defendants flee the scene.

“They run to the beach and jump in the sea. Emergency services are called to fish them out of the sea, and they are then arrested.”

Mr Casserley suffered a broken jaw in the attack. He was taken to hospital by ambulance and later transferred to Poole, where a metal plate was fitted in his jaw.

Images of his bloodied face were shown to the court during the sentencing hearing.

In a victim impact statement read aloud to the court, Mr Casserley said he had been left “extremely distressed” by the attack.

Two other men suffered minor injuries during the subsequent street fight.

Martin, of Great Wakering, Southend-on-Sea, has 27 convictions for 52 offences, including for violence. He has previously been sentenced for punching a PC and a woman during separate incidents.

Nick Bonehill, mitigating, said both Martin and his friend had visited Dorset as part of a family holiday with their partners. The men had been drinking for most of the day before the attack and Martin suddenly realised he couldn’t find his mobile phone, the court heard.

“For some reason that he cannot explain, he gets it into his head that the victim has something to do with taking his mobile phone,” Mr Bonehill said.

“The victim and a number of other people had been around [the defendant] that night, standing close to him.

“There were no issues between them, no problems.”

He said Martin was “significantly in drink” when the offences occurred.

“He and his friend flee, running down the road, at the end of which is the beach,” he said.

“They start wading in. They don’t get very far.

“Hard-working members of the emergency services waded out, told them to stop being stupid, and brought them in.”

Martin, who has two young children, completed a two-year apprenticeship and now works as a self-employed bricklayer, the court heard.

Judge Jonathan Fuller QC said the attack against Mr Casserley was “sickening” – a word also used by the defendant about his own behaviour when interviewed by a probation officer.

Sentencing Martin to 20 months in prison, the judge told him: “This was street violence at night in a public place.”