A jobless 30-year-old man has been jailed for life for the murder of a father-of-three who died seven years after suffering severe brain damage in a savage street attack.
Adrian Bailey - who has already served a jail term imposed in 1998 after being convicted of wounding David Beech - was prosecuted for a second time following the paralysed victim's death in 2004.
Bailey was found guilty of murder on Wednesday by a jury at Stafford Crown Court. His co-defendant, ex-soldier Michael Golden (27) was cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter.
Mr Justice Mackay ordered Bailey to serve at least eight years of the life term before being considered for parole and jailed Golden for 18 months.
The judge told the men that the case set a difficult sentencing exercise because they had both served sentences imposed before Mr Beech's death.
"You have both experienced what the law calls double jeopardy - you have been tried a second time after your release from the first sentence," the judge said.
The two-week trial was told that Mr Beech died, aged 42, in November 2004 of medical complications caused by the injuries he suffered in the attack in the early hours of June 14, 1997.
Golden, of Rossett Grove, Packmoor, and Bailey (30), of Rectory Road, Shelton, both Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, left Mr Beech in a pool of blood in the Goldenhill area of the city after a dispute relating to Bailey's ex-girlfriend escalated into a fight.
The judge told the pair: "You both exalted in what you had done, laughing as you ran down the road.
"You both knew that you had left David Beech unconscious and as Bailey accurately put it, half dead, lying in a side road on his own."
The case was the first in Staffordshire in which defendants had been successfully tried for a second time for the same incident following a victim's subsequent death.
The jury was told that Mr Beech was assaulted outside the Red Lion Public House in Rogers Street and spent long periods in hospital before being cared for at his parents' home in Stoke-on-Trent.
After the initial trial in 1998, Bailey received a five-year prison sentence and Golden was given a six-year sentence.
Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Phil Lee, from the Major Investigation Department at Staffordshire Police, said: "Taking into account that Mr Beech's life was destroyed on the day he was assaulted and the suffering of his family, the verdicts and the sentences are just."
The prosecution is one of just a handful of cases brought since the "year and a day rule" was abolished in 1996.
The rule meant that if someone died more than a year after being assaulted, those responsible could not be prosecuted for murder.
Det Chief Insp Lee added: "With the change of legislation this is no longer the case and with the consent of the Attorney General, prosecutions such as this can now successfully be brought."