A DRUNKEN thug launched an unprovoked attack on a woman passer-by leaving her on the ground with a broken hip, a court heard today.

Thomas McNulty, who was with two friends, had told the woman, who had just been innocently walking along, to "stop taking the p… out of me" and then punched her in the face.

"She fell to the floor and he kicked her a number of times and then ran off," said Lee Bonner, prosecuting.

The 45-year-old victim was taken to Arrowe Park Hospital after the alarm had been raised by witnesses, and she had to stay for eight days and have a hip replacement.

Jailing McNulty for 26 months, the judge, Recorder Anna Vigars, told him: "What you did in drink was to launch an entirely unprovoked attack on a stranger leading to her having to have a hip replacement.

"You knocked her to the ground and kicked her repeatedly while she was on the ground. She was vulnerable because she was alone and you were with others, and there were refusals on your part to acknowledge your responsibility sustained through a number of interviews," she said.

"You used a weapon, your shod foot, on somebody when she was on the ground," she added.

32-year-old McNulty, of Holt Road, Birkenhead, pleaded guilty at Liverpool Crown Court to causing grievous bodily harm.

The incident happened in Cook Street, Birkenhead, on the evening of June 3 last year.

Anna Duke, defending, said McNulty, who has previous convictions for violence, has been in custody since his arrest last summer.