A PRISON sentence has been handed to a Prestonpans man who left a German visitor with “life-changing injuries” after elbowing him in the face, causing him to crack his head off the pavement.

Ethan Baker-Blake left Benno Orschulik lying on the ground with a fractured skull after the attack.

The German national, who was in Edinburgh for a conference, had spotted Baker-Blake and his girlfriend having an altercation on the city’s George Street last year.

Mr Orschulik approached Baker-Blake, of Fowler Court, in a bid to calm him down but the 22-year-old lashed out and struck him on the head.

The victim was knocked unconscious and fell backwards, cracking his head on the pavement following the unprovoked assault.

Baker-Blake then ran off towards the New Town and his victim was rushed to hospital where it was found he had suffered a fractured skull and had bleeding on the brain.

Baker-Blake, 22, pleaded guilty to assault at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last month and appeared back at the court for sentencing last Thursday.

Sheriff Alastair Noble said the attack had left Mr Orschulik with “life-changing” injuries and jailed Baker-Blake for 21 months.

Sheriff Noble was told that Baker-Blake had four previous convictions for assault and was left with no option but to impose a custodial sentence.

Previously, Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told that a neurosurgeon at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary said that if surgery had not been carried out so promptly “there was a large chance [Mr Orschulik] could have died”.

READ MORE: German man 'could have died' after street attack

Fiscal depute Aidan Higgins told the court that Mr Orschulik had been in Edinburgh for a work conference.

Mr Higgins said he and colleagues had been out at the city’s Opal Lounge club and spotted Baker-Blake and his girlfriend as they left the premises.

The fiscal added: “He was holding her by the arm and she seemed very distressed.

“The complainer and another male approached the accused and the woman and encouraged him to let go of her.

“The accused did not take well to this and told the complainer not to get involved or he would hurt him.

“The complainer did not leave and the accused swung out in anger to his face with his elbow.

“He fell clean backwards and struck his head on the ground. There was blood coming from his right ear.”

Mr Higgins said Mr Orschulik suffered catastrophic injuries due to the attack, including a fractured skull.

The court heard that surgeons were forced to operate on Mr Orschulik in a bid to “evacuate the blood clot” that had developed due to the incident.

He spent about two weeks in hospital following the attack and continues to suffer from a loss of hearing in his right ear, as well as from headaches and tiredness.