A STREET drinker who kicked his best mate in the head told police: “He called me a nonce so I bashed him.”

Paul Hillier kicked friend Shane Hayward three times. When members of the public intervened he pulled out a pair of nail scissors, waved them at his pal and warned him he was lucky not to have been stabbed.

Now, he has been jailed for 15 months after admitting common assault, possession of a blade and breaching a suspended sentence order.

Swindon Crown Court heard Hillier, 51, had been drinking with his friend in the town centre on September 14 last year.

It was around 12.30pm and two passers-by saw the older man kick his friend to the head three times.

One of them heard Hillier tell his prone victim: “If I had my shoes on I’m going to put your head through the wall.”

The street drinker pulled out a pair of vanity scissors around 10-12cm in length. With the blade in his hand, he said to Mr Hayward: “You’re lucky I don’t stab you.”

Prosecutor Hannah Squire said: “Mr Hayward stays there. The police manage to locate Hillier shortly thereafter and notice the scissors are poking out of the bag that he’s carrying.”

When he was arrested the man told constables: “He called me a nonce so I bashed him.”

The court heard Hillier was on a suspended prison sentence imposed last March for possession of a knife and shoplifting.

He was a long-time alcoholic, with 35 previous convictions for 82 offences, and was currently in HMP Bullingdon for breaching a court injunction banning him from drinking in Swindon town centre.

Hillier, formerly of Groves Street, Rodbourne, pleaded guilty at the magistrates’ court to common assault and possession of a bladed article.

Rob Ross, defending, said his client and Mr Hayward had been long-term friend. “They were both raging drunk. Any incident between these two would appear if you didn’t know them to be worse than it was and the likelihood is he would probably have fallen over shortly after if the police hadn’t come along.

“They were sitting on the floor arguing because they weren’t actually very capable of standing up. Whist it would appear to be a potentially nasty incident it probably never was because of the closeness of the two friends and they were both exceptionally drunk.”

He said Hillier had an offer of accommodation when he was released from prison in a fortnight and asked the judge to delay sentence so he could take up the offer.

Jail had changed since he was last behind bars, with the institution clogged with cannabis-substitute Spice. His client had found being caged for breaching the injunction a salutary experience. He was now sober and keen to change his life when he was released.

Judge Jason Taylor QC said he was encouraged Hillier had used his time in prison constructively, but the matters were so serious they justified an immediate 15 month sentence.

“You had a bladed article where there was risk of serious distress and that risk is very real, especially when two people are drunk and members of the public nearby intervene,” he said.