A BRUTAL drunken beating has resulted in a six-month prison sentence for a former national newspaper sub-editor.

Ex-Mail on Sunday journalist Steven Wells knocked Jason Smith unconscious outside a pub in Chipping Campden and kicked him repeatedly with steel-toed boots, Gloucester Crown Court was told.

Wells, 56, who had drunk eight pints of beer at a family barbecue, was angry with him for allegedly being aggressive towards his niece outside the Knowle pub in Chipping Campden.

Wells pleaded guilty to assaulting Jason Smith causing actual bodily harm on Easter Monday, April 21.

Judge Jamie Tabor QC told him he could easily have killed Mr Smith by kicking him in the head with reinforced motorcycle boots when he was unconscious and vulnerable.

Witness Rachel Woodward, who was driving the victim home, told police that as they approached her car the men began talking to two girls. Wells then appeared and launched an attack on Mr Smith.

Prosecutor Julian Kesner said: “Without warning Mr Smith was punched by the defendant. He went to the ground. It appears that at that stage he was already unconscious.

“Once he was on the ground he was kicked by Mr Wells. Ms Woodward says he was kicked a number of times – she suggests eight.”

Mr Kesner said most of the kicks were to the head, but there was at least one ‘hefty kick’ to the kidney area.

Mr Smith suffered a large cut to the top of the head which required 11 stitches.

Stephen Parker, defending, said Wells felt very protective towards his niece that night but acknowledged he had gone too far.

He said Wells had been a sub-editor in London and was now working for a Credit Suisse where he was involved in producing a financial publication.

Judge Tabor told him: “I am prepared to accept that your view of the situation outside the pub was that your niece was having a difficult time with one or two boys.

“I am also prepared to accept that one of those lads, who was the victim, made a comment which although it was entirely wrong was very unpleasant.”