A ROWLEY Regis businessman described as a "gentle giant" and a "big teddy bear" has been locked up for 16 months after he left a man paralysed with a single punch after a pub row over a round of drinks.

Judge Michael Challinor told Nathan Bell, who runs a successful car repair operation, that long after he would be back on the streets victim Craig Timmins would continue to suffer from his violent conduct.

The judge told the 34-year-old at Wolverhampton Crown Court: "I accept you had a gentle character previous to this, you have no convictions for violence and you only threw one punch."

But he ruled he had no alternative but to impose an immediate custodial sentence for his actions outside the Fox and Goose pub in Greens Green Road, West Bromwich.

The punch thrown by six foot tall Bell left Mr Timmins with brain damage, he is now paralysed down one side of his body and he remains in hospital.

In a victim impact statement his mother Jackie Chambers said her son's life had been terribly damaged by the blow and he was now unable to talk properly and he could only utter a few words.

Bell, who pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent, had been left devastated by the catastrophic injury he caused to Mr Timmins stressed his barrister Simon Rippon, after actions that were "totally out of character."

Mr Rippon said the father-of-one was deeply sorry for the pain he had caused as a result of the one punch he threw and it was something he would have to live with for the rest of his life.

Anthony Cartin, prosecuting, said Mr Timmins had been enjoying a drink in the pub when Bell walked in and he made a joke about the businessman buying a round of drinks.

The two men knew each other with Bell saying that Mr Timmins should get the drinks in having reacted badly to the earlier comment.

There was a lot of testosterone flying around the pub with Bell lifting another man over his head as a weight lifting exercise before he later asked Mr Timmins to go outside for a fight.

Mr Cartin said CCTV cameras caught Bell punching the victim just once but it was a hard blow to the head and he was immediately rushed to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham where he underwent surgery.

The court was told that Bell, of Highmoor Road, employed 18 people in his business.