An innocent woman clubber almost died when she was hit on the head with a bottle in a Watford bar.

Holly Hallett, 20, was not involved in a scuffle that had broken out involving her friends and John Esquivias-Davies in Paparazzi in The Parade.

But Esquivias-Davies, then 19, brought down a bottle on her head, St Albans crown court heard on Friday.

She suffered heavy external bleeding from a wound that needed five stitches. More seriously there was an internal injury that caused bleeding inside her skull. She was taken to St Mary's hospital in London where she underwent a major operation.

Esquivias-Davies, now 20, of Oakleigh Close, Whetstone, was convicted of wounding on Holly on just before midnight on Saturday, November 16, last year. During the trial he claimed he acted in self-defence. 

Simon Sterling, defending, said there was a lack of premeditation. He said: "He is genuinely sorry. A grave injury was occasioned but it was unforeseeable."

He said Esquivias-Davies had approached the victim's family, had apologised to them and showed real remorse. He said he had been offered a place at Portmouth University.

Judge Andrew Bright QC said the victim's family had given Esquivias-Davies powerful mitigation by telling him that he had the decency to apologise, but he told him: "You struck Holly Hallett with the bottle and did so deliberately. The fact is she could have died. Holly Hallett did not contribute to the assault in any shape or form." 

He sentenced him to 21 months in a Young Offenders Institute.