‘Loutish behaviour caused life change’

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A YOUNG man suffered a life-changing injury when he was punched once in a Wrexham street, a court heard.

Victim James Edward Ashcroft, 21, was drunk, fell back and hit his head, and fractured his skull.

He suffered temporary facial paralyses but had been left with permanent deafness in his left ear, Mold Crown Court was told on Friday.

The attack happened after Mr Ashcroft “back heeled” the bumper of a passing car as he left a night club.

The car owner, Liam Griffiths, 20, came out of the passenger side and punched him – and the next thing Mr Ashcroft remembered was waking up in hospital.

Griffiths, of Ernest Parry Road, Wrexham, was spared immediate custody.

Judge Niclas Parry imposed a 52 week youth custody sentence, suspended for 12 months. He was ordered to carry out 300 hours unpaid work in the community and pay £1,500 compensation.

Griffiths was also ordered to remain indoors at night between 7pm and 7am on a six month tagged curfew on the days he is not working shifts.

“On February 13, your loutish behaviour caused a life-changing injury,” Judge Parry said.

“These courts have had to deal with far too many recent cases of deaths caused by a single punch resulting in a fall to the ground.”

The court heard he pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm and was genuinely remorseful.

Sandra Subacchi, prosecuting, said the victim had been out with friends and was walking from Central Station with the designated driver who was sober.

In an unconnected incident three males shouted at them and one punched Mr Ashcroft. He was not caused any injuries and as they walked away up Vicarage Hill a Corsa car approached and Mr Ashcroft back heeled it.

Griffiths jumped out of the car and remonstrated with him. Both apologised for what Mr Ashcroft had done.

But Griffiths punched him with a single blow, he fell back and hit his head on the pavement and witnesses described hearing a cracking sound as he did so.

He lost consciousness and a number of people including Griffiths tried to rouse him but Griffiths then left saying “well, he should not have kicked my car.”

Mr Ashcroft was found to have a fracture to the left side of his head, he suffered significant hearing loss, and the damage to the left ear meant he would have very little hearing in that ear, if at all.

He had been left with a thudding sound in the ear, he could not work and even travelling in a car made him feel dizzy and nauseous.

David Potter, defending, said the lives of two young men had been wrecked.

The first was the victim of the attack. The second was the defendant, a man of exemplary character with a good work record and a stable family life.

ACCORDING to his father, before the attack James was an outgoing young man “oozing with confidence and with an army of friends”.

But now William Ashcroft says his son is relucant to leave home and walks out of the room when more than two people gather.

His father says there are varying opinions amongst James’s doctors about whether his hearing will ever be restored.

He is currently taking medication for agraphobia, depression and anxiety.

“He has been out a couple of times since he came home from hospital but we have to force him to go out,” said Mr Ashcroft.

“His friends come to see him but if there are more than two people in the room at the same time James just walks out."

Before the attack, James was planning go to college, but now he has restricted himself to a correspondence course.

His father added: “James is getting better each day but all this has changed his life.”

See full story in the Leader

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