Teenager jailed for assault that left victim in coma

A family snapshot of Andrew Toseland
A family snapshot of Andrew Toseland
A board put up by police after the crash

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A TEENAGER has been jailed for his part in a brutal attack that left a man in a coma and needing 24-hour care for the rest of his life.

Brandon Fisher, 19, of Old Road, Gosport, appeared at Portsmouth Crown Court today after admitting unlawful wounding on the basis he had a subordinate role in the vicious attack on 50-year-old Andrew Toseland.

As reported, the warehouse man was beaten unconscious and suffered life-threatening head injuries during the assault on August 25 last year outside his mum’s flat in Forton Road, Gosport, where he had been staying.

Samuel Armstrong, 19, from Gosport, admitted playing the leading role in the assault, causing grievous bodily harm with intent on Andrew Toseland and actual bodily harm on his brother Robert Toseland.

He was due to be sentenced today, but his case was adjourned until Friday as his defence barrister was ill.

The court heard that Mr Toseland was repeatedly stamped and kicked in the head by Armstrong, causing his glasses to smash into fragments.

Fisher and Armstrong had been to a party on the ninth floor of Garland Court, the court heard.

Fisher had drunk about half a bottle of vodka.

At about 11.30pm the Toseland brothers, who had been out, returned to their mother’s flat, which is on the floor below where the party was taking place.

When they heard shouting in the corridor, they went out to ask them to be quiet and got into a struggle with Armstrong and another boy, now aged 17, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

The court was told they then went downstairs to the ground floor lobby, where Fisher was, and told him they had been attacked.

Judge Sarah Munro QC said Fisher went back upstairs with his friends ‘to exact revenge’.

The court heard Fisher was saying “Come on, come on” as they went upstairs.

The teenagers repeatedly banged on the doors of a flat opposite, believing it to be the Toseland’s residence.

When the Toseland brothers heard the commotion, they came outside and Armstrong launched a flying kick on Robert Toseland, the court heard, before punching his brother Andrew to the floor.

The court heard Robert Toseland tried to intervene, but was prevented from doing so by Fisher as they got into a struggle.

Judge Munro said: ‘(Armstong) punched Andrew to the floor and kicked and stamped on his head repeatedly while he lay there unconscious.

‘Meanwhile you were grappling with Robert Toseland.

‘You accept that in holding Robert Toseland back you prevented him from helping his brother and stopping the attack upon Andrew.’

However, the court was also read a statement from an independent witness in the case.

She said that she heard Fisher shout ‘stop’ when he realised the severity of the attack.

Judge Munro accepted this evidence.

She told Fisher: ‘I accept that it was never your intention that Mr Toseland should suffer anything like the injuries which in fact he did.’

Mr Toseland suffered ‘hideous injuries’, she said.

The court heard a scan on Mr Toseland’s brain revealed a severe blood clot and that he spent two months in a vegetative state at Southampton General Hospital.

She added: ‘He was in hospital for a very long time.

‘He will never be able to live independently.

‘He requires 24-hour-a-day care in a nursing home.

‘The effect upon him is to take away the rest of his life in any meaningful way.’

Mr Toseland can go longer walk and can barely speak.

Despite giving him credit for his guilty plea and remorse, Judge Munro said the injuries sustained by Mr Toseland were so severe that only a custodial sentence could be imposed.

Fisher, who remained silent throughout the hearing and was wearing a smart shirt, was sentenced to 27 months in a young offenders’ institution.

After the sentencing, Mr Toseland’s mother Nina, 78, told The News: ‘We are quite pleased.

‘We did not think it was going to be that long.

‘My son has got a life sentence, so I don’t think he got what he deserved.

‘But what can you do? That’s the law.’

A third teenager involved in the case, aged 17, is not being prosecuted due to lack of evidence about his role in the attack.