THE trial of a man from Hindley accused of causing life threatening injuries to a rugby fan began today, Monday.

Neil Shuker, aged 28, of George Street is accused of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Brent Croft who was out with friends in Wigan after watching a rugby match at a pub.

Mr Croft had no recollection of how he sustained his injuries but the attack at Revolutions Bar on King Street which landed him with serious head and facial injuries was witnessed by others on October 6 last year, it was alleged.

Shuker and co-accused Bradley Phillips, aged 27, of Bolton Road, Aspull have both pleaded not guilty to the charge. Shuker admitted a lesser charge of wounding but that plea was not accepted by the prosecution.

"It appears Mr Croft stopped breathing on the way to A and E and a CT scan revealed extensive, complex and life threatening facial fractures and possible swelling to the brain," said Graham Pickavance, prosecuting.

His friend, Darren Jenkinson, told officers that he saw Mr Croft falling to the floor as a man kicked and punched him so hard that it changed his direction of fall. He then saw a second man kick him but did not see if it landed.

One witness claimed that after the larger man punched Mr Croft full in the face causing him to fall the other man "ran to stand on his chest and stamped on his face."

Shuker was arrested shortly after midnight and said: "I'm not going to lie, I hit someone."

When interviewed he said he had gone into the club with some girls "and the victim was dancing and staring at them. He thought the lad was going to hit him and so punched and kicked him once. It was like a reaction."

Phillips told detectives that the victim was dancing in Shuker's face and Shuker hit him. He said he split them up and denied assaulting Mr Croft.

Mr Pickavance said that forensic scientists found DNA from the victim on the right shoe worn by Phillips.

The case continues.