A STUDENT who knocked a man unconscious in a Worcester nightclub was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder at the time, a court heard.

Jake Toriyen punched Paul Monnes in the face in Alexander's in New Street, knocking him unconscious. The 21-year-old of Henwick Road, St John's, Worcester denies assault occasioning actual bodily harm following the incident on March 17 last year, claiming he felt 'intimidated' after Mr Monnes bumped into him three times.

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Toriyen gave evidence from the witness box at Worcester Crown Court on Monday. He was cross-examined by prosecutor Andrew Davidson who said: "When you launched your attack on Mr Monnes you went to absolutely beat the pulp out of him didn't you?" He put it to him that the complainant had been 'drunk and bumbling'.

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Toriyen said he had been in a different mental state at the time, had suffered traumatic experiences as a child and acted out of 'fear and anxiety'. He added: "There was no anger there at all."

Toriyen was asked where he had learned to throw a punch but the defendant told the jury it was 'just a reaction' and added: "I'm not a boxer."

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A consultant psychiatrist, professor Tony Elliott, appeared over videolink yesterday, telling the jury Toriyen had been diagnosed with PTSD after his mother was violently attacked by a gang and after he suffered a 'significant assault' when he was 11. "Following that he regularly felt extremely under threat when in public places or with strangers," said the professor.

Symptoms could include anxiety, nightmares, flashbacks, impulsivity, over-alertness, self-harm, anger and transient substance and alcohol misuse, avoidant behaviour, paranoia and low self-esteem. Toriyen had been in contact with the children and adolescent mental health services when he was younger.

The defendant reported that he had withdrawn from ant-depressant Sertraline before the alleged offence. Professor Elliott said the defendant had multiple scars to his arms, typical of someone who has repeatedly cut themselves with a razor or sharp knives.

The trial continues.