Violent thug's single punch leaves Portsmouth victim in coma for months
FRIENDS of a man left in a coma after cracking his head on the kerb when he was dealt a 'full-on punch' have said they are heartbroken.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard John Cairns sufferedÂ life-threatening head injuries, leaving him with a significant brain injury needing surgery.
He is still in a coma and is being fed through a tube, with a ventilator tube inserted into his neck breathing for him.
Ben McCreadie was jailed for the attack outside the Stag pub in New Road, Buckland, after he punched the victim in the head on April 1.
Mr CairnsÂ was still in a coma whenÂ 28-year-old McCreadie, of New Road, was jailed in August.
The victim was left with a brain haemorrhage, fractured skull in his brain, a fractured jaw, and remains on a ventilator with a tube in his throat to help him breathe.
Prosecutor Daniel Sawyer said: 'He can now make basic motion of arms and legs, no more than that.'
He added: 'There's a strong chance he will not return to independent living.
A witness who saw the attack questioned why McCreadie was leaving the scene but the attacker shot back: 'He knows what he did, ask him.'
Lucy Thorn, a friend of the victim, said pals were heartbroken at seeing their friend in hospital.
The 35-year-old said: 'It's so heartbreaking, he has to learn to walk and talk again.
'He makes progress but it's limited and sometimes he's forward and then three steps back.'
McCreadie's lawyer in court claimed the victim had got involved in threatening the defendant over money.
Jailing McCreadie for two years, judge William Ashworth said: 'A witness saw you acting aggressively at him, the argument escalated and you delivered what was said to be a "full-on punch" with a clenched first which struck Mr Cairns, immediately felling him.
'Mr Cairns felt and struck his head upon the kerb.'
He added: 'He has some basic motions inÂ his arms and legs but it's clear that he has at this time suffered a very life-changing set of injuries and cognitive disruption because of the blow he was struck.'
Judge Ashworth said McCreadie, who had been on remand since April and will be released after 12 months in custody, had shown some remorse.
Patrick Hamlin, mitigating, claimed the victim had 'become involved by making some threats to this defendant on the telephone involving a money debt.'
He added: 'It was an unfortunate situation that they both happened to be in the same place at the same time.'