A MAN who battered his cousin after a Christmas drinking binge and left him lying injured and bleeding on a railway platform has been spared prison.

John McIntyre repeatedly punched the man on the head and caused blood to seep from his ear, then fled the scene with him motionless on the ground.

The 33-year-old dad-of-four was told by Sheriff Andrew McIntyre that the only reason he wasn't being jailed is because he has no previous convictions for violence.

His cousin — who hasn't spoken to him since the attack in December 2017 — made it to a friend's house and later lost consciousness, sparking a call for an ambulance.

Defence lawyer Edward Sweeney said: "They were both drunk and he doesn't know what started the argument.

"The complainer was more of a brother to him than a cousin, they were best friends.

"Since the incident there has been no contact between parties."

Mr Sweeney told a sentencing hearing at Greenock Sheriff Court: "There is reference in the background report to Mr McIntyre's regret."

The court heard previously how McIntyre and his cousin were returning home from a works party in Glasgow when they fell out.

A tussle between them had ended and the other man was walking away when he was attacked at Bogston station.

Prosecutor Claire Rowan said: "The complainer remained on the ground for around three minutes and then managed to get to his feet.

"He attended at a friend's house. The friend made a cup of tea on on returning the complainer lost consciousness and an ambulance was called which conveyed him to hospital."

Sheriff Andrew McIntyre told McIntyre: "I am just persuaded that a community payback order is appropriate as an alternative to a prison sentence as you don't have a record for violence."

McIntyre, of Murdieston Street, Greenock, has been ordered to complete 270 hours of unpaid work within 12 months, and told that it would have been 300 hours were it not for his guilty plea.

He will also be under supervision for nine months and on an electronic tagging nighttime curfew between 7pm and 7am for ten weeks.