Thug jailed for unprovoked attack that left Wirral man with catastrophic brain damage (From Wirral Globe)
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Thug jailed for unprovoked attack that left Wirral man with catastrophic brain damage
A young Tranmere man who launched an unprovoked attack on an older man causing life-threatening head injuries has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.
Victim George Craddock suffered catastrophic brain damage and is not expected to make a full recovery.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that witnesses heard a “sickening crack” when Mr Craddock’s head struck the pavement, fracturing his skull, after being punched by 22-year-old Christopher Hughes.
Keith Sutton, prosecuting, said that 42-year-old Mr Craddock was being taunted by a gang of youths in Old Chester Road, New Ferry, when Hughes walked up and hit him.
“Certainly he was not part of the group of youths. He had not been involved in the events up until this point. In an unprovoked attack he punched him once to the face.
“Mr Craddock was not expecting this. There had been no contact between them physically or verbally. He went straight to the floor where he hit his head upon the ground.
“He suffered significant head injuries and will not be able to live independently. It is highly unlikely he will make a full recovery.
He said Mr Craddock, who has three young grandchildren, has been bedridden since the attack and was unable to eat or breathe on his own.
After seven months of nursing he was only now able to follow movement with his eyes, respond to his name and receive and give back objects.
The court heard Hughes left the scene after the attack but was recognised by a witness and arrested a few days later.
He initially made no comment but after being picked out of an identity parade he claimed that he had acted in self defence.
Hughes, of Beech Court, Tranmere, had been due to face trial but on the first day of the hearing he changed his plea and admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm.
Nick Cockrell, defending, said Hughes felt “genuine remorse”. He said that Hughes said, “I feel guilty all the time. I ruined somebody’s life.”
Judge Brian Lewis said, “Almost from nowhere you suddenly appear, jogging, and went past Mr Craddock and hit him hard in the face. He fell to the ground.
“Witnesses, completely independently of each other, describe the crack – the sickening noise as his head hit the pavement.
“He suffered a fractured skull and a brain haemorrhage. He has been in hospital ever since.
“It is only by the most skilled surgical intervention that he survived or you would be facing very much more serious charges.
“After seven months of intensive nursing he is now able to respond to his name. That is how bad it is.
“This was a completely unprovoked attack on a defenceless man. As a result he faces catastrophic consequences which will last for the rest of his life in all likelihood.”
Detective Inspector Mark Tivendale, who led the Wirral CID investigation, said: "This has been a very traumatic time for Mr Craddock and his family. Their lives have been damaged forever by the mindless violence inflicted by Christopher Hughes.
"Hughes' actions that night in February were completely unprovoked and unwarranted and nearly cost Mr Craddock his life.
"The life-changing injuries he suffered as a result of being knocked to the floor by Hughes show the severe risks and dangers a single punch can do.
"The prison sentence Hughes begins today should serve as a warning to those who think violence is an acceptable way of behaving.
"It is not acceptable and the police will do all we can to put people who do this behind bars."