A man who severely beat a Good Samaritan over a gay joke has been jailed for four and a half years.

BBC News reports that Craig Stewart, 20, beat David Torrance unconscious in the attack in March 2008, causing him to spend almost three months in hospital.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that Mr Torrance and his uncle had been walking home after a night out in East Kilbride when they came across Stewart.

Although they did not know Stewart, Mr Torrance told his uncle he was going to see if he was alright.

When Stewart said his nickname was ‘Boom’, Mr Torrance made a joke about some graffiti which said “Boom is gay”.

Stewart then lashed out, leaving his victim with a footprint mark on his face.

After the attack, Stewart called an ambulance but denied any involvement in the incident.

He later admitted he had become angry and beaten Mr Torrance.

He was originally charged with murder but the Crown accepted his guilty plea to a change of assault to severe injury, permanent disfigurement and to the danger of life.

Lord Uist said: “You used inexcusable and life-threatening violence towards him which could easily have had fatal consequences.”

Following his release, Stewart will be supervised for two years.