Ex-soldier left Gosport pub regular with brain damage in horror attack

Stephen Jones, of Chantry Road, Gosport, has been jailed
Stephen Jones, of Chantry Road, Gosport, has been jailed
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A PUB regular has been left registered blind and brain-damaged after he was brutally attacked by a former soldier.

Gordon Irving was beaten so badly he was in hospital unconscious for two weeks and has no memory of the early-hours attack.

Sometimes I do think it would have been better if I had not woken up from the coma or that I should end it all

Victim Neil Irving

He was with his pal Neil Brereton, whose jaw was broken in two places, after they left the Three Tuns pub in Elson Road, Gosport.

Mr Irving was left brain-damaged and is registered blind after the attack by ex-soldier Stephen Jones.

Reading Mr Irving’s victim personal statement in court Recorder Vasanti Selvaratnam QC said: ‘This assault has had a massive impact on my quality of life and how the rest of my life will be.

‘Sometimes I do think it would have been better if I had not woken up from the coma or that I should end it all.

‘However I then think of all the people who worked hard to save me and my family and that stops me from doing anything.’

The judge jailed Jones, 36, for five years at Portsmouth Crown Court after he repeatedly punched the pair after they walked to St Thomas Church in Elson Lane.

The three were in the pub and exchanged words but the victims left with no incident.

But Jones came out, crossed the road and punched Mr Irving ‘without warning, provocation or retaliation’ Mr Brereton told police.

Jones, a builder, then attacked Mr Brereton before turning back on Mr Irving, knocking him to the ground – and then again turning on Mr Brereton.

Mr Irving suffered ‘extensive neurological effects’ and suffers memory problems after the attack at 1am on Sunday, March 29 last year.

He was taken to Southampton General Hospital following the attack.

Mr Irving is now unable to work, registered blind, unemployed and unable to drive.

Mr Brereton suffered a broken jaw in two places needing surgery and lost teeth. His bite has been affected.

The court heard Jones was previously handed 50 hours of community service for a GBH when he broke his ex-partner’s husband’s jaw in a domestic dispute.

At trial Jones claimed Mr Irving went to get a dismantled pool cue from his pocket and he acted in self-defence.

But the jury found him guilty of two counts of inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Edward Hollingsworth, for Jones, said he said the defendant had called a taxi with his girlfriend. He said: ‘It was a chance encounter with Irving and Brereton, who hadn’t gone home.’

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Mark Brockman said: ‘It’s a good sentence. He’ll have time to reflect on his behaviour while serving it.’