A CRACK cocaine abusing thug was released by police onto the streets of Greenock after randomly targeting two women — then left a man scarred for life in a brutal unprovoked attack.

Patrick Lyon, 41, inexplicably crossed a road and ran up to his victim before repeatedly punching and kicking him on the head and body and leaving him sprawled on the ground, bleeding from a head wound.

The shocking incident on Bank Street occurred a day after Lyon followed and struck a woman whom he had minutes before verbally abused in a shop and accused her of being a 'police informant'.

He'd earlier 'squared up' to a store worker in the Oak Mall and shouted at her: "Am gonnae punch yer face in ya lesbian-looking woman."

Police arrested and charged Lyon following the offences on October 14 last year but he was back on the streets the following day when he attacked the man for no reason.

A sheriff remarked on how the Crown had chosen to prosecute him at summary level — which carries a maximum prison sentence of one year — instead of indicting him on the matters.

Lawman Andrew McIntyre said: "These offences were really quite horrible, entirely unprovoked and I am sure were extremely shocking for the victims."

The court heard how Lyon started verbally abusing a female employee at The Works store in the Mall at 4pm on October 14, and that the victim was 'intimidated' by him.

Half-an-hour later he turned his drug and booze-fuelled aggression towards the second woman as she stood in a queue in Boots' pharmacy department.

Prosecutor Susan Barr said: "The accused began to shout at her, stating, 'You're following me — you're a police informant'.

"He also swore at the woman and called her a 'cow'.

"The accused was asked by the pharmacist to refrain, but regrettably he continued and he punched a hand sanitiser stand.

"The woman the accused had been shouting at was on a phone call on Nicolson Street when she became aware of a presence behind her, she turned to see the accused and he punched her on the face.

"The woman was shocked and in pain.

"Police traced the accused at 5pm."

The next day Lyon made a sudden beeline for his male victim.

Fiscal depute Ms Barr said: "The accused crossed the road and ran at the man and punched him repeatedly on the head and face and kicked his legs.

"A witness saw the complainer raising a bag to protect himself from the blows.

"The man held on to railing to try to stop himself falling to the ground.

"The accused continued to punch his head and face.

"The man asked the accused to stop, but he didn't.

"Police found the man distressed and with blood flowing from an injury to his forehead.

"It was not possible to caution and charge the accused because of his aggressive behaviour at the time.

"The complainer had a 2cm laceration which required three stitches.

"The scar will be permanent."

The court heard that Lyon was already on a community payback order for a previous offence.

Defence lawyer Aidan Gallagher said: "Mr Lyon has longstanding issues with schizophrenia.

"He wasn't lacking criminal responsibility at the time, but he was unwell.

"He had been consuming quantities of crack cocaine and alcohol and this exacerbated his mental health problem."

Lyon, of Lyle Street, has been released from custody because he had already spent the equivalent of a 12-month prison sentence on remand.

Sheriff McIntyre remarked: "The case was a summary complaint and the court is therefore restricted to a one-year headline sentence."

Lyon's previous convictions include flouting lockdown rules last year and targeting a frontline Greenock homecare worker as she sat in her broken-down car and shouting at her: "Come on out and I'll batter you!"

Lyon has also been locked up for shouting 'You're dead!' at his elderly mother before kicking her.

He received jail terms for sparking bomb scares at polling stations in Greenock during a by-election and the Scottish independence referendum, and brandishing a knife at a couple whilst out on licence from prison.

Lyon is due back in court on May 12 for a case review hearing regarding his community payback order.