A FATHER-of-two who hit an innocent man in the face after a racial slur — even though the victim didn't make it —has been jailed for 15 months.

Adeel Ashraf, 28, had been in a car in the Accrington area when a woman dog owner complained her pet had almost been mown down and shouted an offensive comment.

Ashraf then got out and punched Paul Dutson, who had nothing to do with the abuse.

The defendant delivered a single, forceful blow, knocking the victim into a wall, then to the ground, unconscious.

Mr Dutson needed surgery, Burnley Crown Court heard.

The hearing was told Mr Dutson had tried to be civil to Ashraf, but he rejected his offer of a handshake.

The victim was taken to the Royal Preston Hospital neurological unit after the attack, amid fears he had suffered a brain injury.

Tests showed he hadn't, but he did have three fractures to his face, including a broken eye socket and nose.

Ashraf, of Old Road, Failsworth, Oldham, had earlier admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm, last November 16.

David Ryan, defending, said Ashraf had a record, including two previous convictions for assault, although they were ‘of some antiquity’.

Since the birth of his youngest son, almost two-and-a -half years ago, he had stayed out of trouble.

His wife, a health care assistant, and youngest son had health problems.

The solicitor added: “The defendant wishes, through me, to apologise to his victim for his actions.

“His remorse appears to be genuine.

“It has to be custody, but it could properly be suspended to allow the defendant to attend on various courses."

Sentencing, Judge Simon Newell said Ashraf had had no need to get out of the car and follow upon the unpleasant abuse with a man who had no part of it.

The judge, who said he accepted the attack wasn't premeditated or planned, said he had read a medical report from a consultant neurosurgeon.

He told the defendant: “These were injuries of some substance.”