A MAN has been jailed after a punch left his victim with a traumatic brain injury and a changed personality.

Liam Nikolic, of Pentre Felin in Wrexham, appeared at Mold Crown Court on Wednesday morning for sentence.

The 25-year-old had admitted one offence of wounding without intent at a previous hearing.

Matthew Kerruish-Jones, prosecuting, told the court that the offence took place in the early hours of the morning on Saturday, May 29, 2021.

At around 3.40am, after leaving the New York New York bar in the city centre, a man named Dylan Hamblett was assaulted on several occasions as he made his way up Town Hill towards the One to Five bar.

Over a period of about 18 minutes, which was captured on CCTV, he was punched to the face twice, once by the defendant and once by another man.

He didn't retaliate and was seen to have a bleeding lip or face.

As he neared the crossroad at the top of Town Hill, another male approached him in a "boxing stance," but didn't hit him.

It was at this point Nikolic ran over and punched Mr Hamblett to the face once more - this time knocking him unconscious.

The victim fell and struck his head on the concrete, following which Nikolic and the other male ran from the scene.

It appeared from the CCTV footage that Mr Hamblett had been more of an "annoyance" to the defendant in the time leading up to the punch, but hadn't presented a threat to him.

Nikolic was arrested at 8.15pm that day and asked police: "Do you know if the person I had a fight with... is he ok?" and asked if he'd be "going to prison."

Mr Hamblett was first taken to Wrexham Maelor Hospital, then on to the Royal Stoke Hospital where he was treated for a large extradural haemorrhage and a fractured skull.

He underwent an emergency craniotomy, resulting in a large scar to the top of his head.

Overall, it was concluded he had sustained a "traumatic brain injury" and went on to suffer seizures, as well as ongoing problems with memory, attention and processing emotions such as anger and anxiety.

It was stated in court that the full impact of the victim's injury at the present time, and any formal diagnoses thereafter, were not known as he had failed to attend outpatient treatment.

However, injuries have caused a change in his personality, noted by his mother in a victim impact statement.

She said: "Things have significantly deteriorated - he has changed in so many ways since the assault.

"It is clear that all the issues he is having are as a result of the assault."

Prior to the incident, she described him as a "quiet" man who was never violent.

The Leader: Liam Nikolic (North Wales Police)Liam Nikolic (North Wales Police) (Image: North Wales Police)

Following the assault, she explained, he "struggles massively with alcohol," and "gets very delusional."

He struggles to hold down jobs and "has had a complete change of personality," as well as displaying violent and aggressive behaviour including towards her.

"I don't recognise him as my old son," she concluded.

When interviewed by police, Nikolic claimed the victim had verbally abused him and that he'd struck him to "protect himself and his friends."

Nikolic said his intention hadn't been to injure the victim, and that he was "very sorry."

Mr Kerruish-Jones concluded that while the victim's injuries had not been life-threatening, they certainly were life-changing.

Richard Edwards, defending, said: "Alcohol, when taken to excess, is this defendant's problem - other than that he's a totally different young man.

"There was clearly some interaction between the victim and himself in the build-up to that punch.

"He saw his friend and the victim squaring up and made the foolish decision to get involved.

"He is struggling to come to terms with what happened and why he made that decision.


"It was impulsive. He clearly lost self-control and he has to accept the consequences of what he did."

Mr Edwards said his client, a roofer, had "deficits" in his thinking and that he would benefit from probation intervention if the court felt able to draw back from immediate custody.

But Recorder Simon Mills decided that only immediate custody would suffice.

The Leader:

"The scene I've had to watch [on CCTV] was of multiple people who have come out of bars and clubs," he told the defendant.

"Many of whom are obviously drunk and many behaving in a manner that could be described as out of control; throwing glasses around, shouting aimlessly at people.

"That includes the victim in this case. His behaviour was of nuisance value, but he wasn't using violence towards anyone.

"You struck him a powerful blow to the head and then realising the seriousness of what you'd done, you ran away.

"This was part of an overall disgraceful scene of loutishness and thuggery in the streets of Wrexham."

Nikolic received an overall jail term of 14 months, to be served immediately.