A Staffordshire policeman who went to investigate a suspicious car was so savagely beaten with a weapon that he was left with brain damage, a jury was told.

Constable David Smith suffered fractures to his face which needed resconstructive surgery and had no memory of the attack, Stafford Crown Court was told.

Thomas Piovesana (23), of Rothsay, Tamworth, Staffordshire, denies wounding Pc Smith with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm. He also denies an alternative charge of malicious wounding.

Stefan Kolodynski, prosecuting, told the jury that Piovesana went on the run and was arrested in Birmingham 163 days later. "Whilst being escorted back to the police station he said: 'Can you tell him I am sorry?' He finally realised the enormity of what had happened and the remorse came out."

Mr Kolodynski said Pc Smith and Pc Joan Graham were on patrol in a marked car when they saw a vehicle parked near the George public house in the Glascote area of Tamworth.

He said Pc Smith went to the car and three men got out and walked towards the Caledonian Arcade Shopping Centre. He followed them and disappeared.

Pc Graham, fearing for his safety, followed and called out to him but there was no response. Her worst fears were realised when she found him lying flat on his back, unconscious with his head in a pool of blood and both arms outstretched. "His injuries were caused by considerable force with a weapon," said Mr Kolodynski.

The injured officer was taken to the Good Hope Hospital, Sutton Coldfield, then transferred to Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham.

Mr Kolodynski said a woman friend of Piovesana's received a phone call from him. "He told her he had punched the officer in the face then ran away," he told the jury.

The trial continues.