A drunk cyclist who left a nursery assistant with a fractured skull after crashing into her has escaped jail.

James Reason, 35, of St George’s Close, Warminster, who was already banned from the road, was more than three-and-a-half times the drink-drive limit.

His bike was found to have an ineffective front brake, none at the back and no lights, reflectors or bell.

Rosie Walsh, prosecuting told Swindon Crown Court last Wednesday, Cassandra Robbins, 21, was walking home with a friend at 4am on February 19.

She said it was raining quite heavily and dark although there was street lighting at the end of Fore Street in Warminster.

Miss Robbins was walking ahead of her friend and stepped on to the zebra crossing, which is at the bottom of a hill, when she was hit by the bike. She was knocked unconscious and had blood coming from her ear.

When the police arrived Reason told them ‘I know I have got no lights, I have had a couple of drinks. I came down the hill and I didn’t see her’.

In January last year he was banned from the road for three years for drink-driving following a similar conviction in 2002.

Miss Robbins was taken to the Royal United Hospital in Bath and then transferred to the neurological unit at Frenchay.

She spent two nights in intensive care and as a result of the injury lost her job as supply staff as a nursery nurse.

Reason pleaded guilty to actual bodily harm.

James Bruce, defending, said after the accident, his client had done did all he could to help the woman, taking his jacket off to keep her warm and talking to her to try to keep her conscious.

He said Reason had been suffering from depression at the time and drinking more that he should but has now cut back.

Judge Euan Ambrose said “You did not intend to cause harm to anybody, you just wanted to get home, but you did so in a way that caused a risk.”

He imposed a six-month jail term suspended for 18 months and put him on supervision and told him to do 150 hours’ unpaid work.