'Pathetic sentence' for yob who attacked an aerospace engineer and left him paralysed
MATTHEW Edmonds has been left paralysed from the neck down and facing life in a wheelchair after he was punched in the street by a drunken yob.
The 33-year-old was left a tetraplegic with limited movement in his arms after the single punch assault.
His attacker, Samuel Evans, 21, was already subject to a suspended jail term for a previous assault when he lashed out at Matthew.
He fell and hit his head on a concrete floor, with "devastating" consequences for the aerospace testing engineer, Gloucester Crown Court was told.
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Matthew was helped into court in his wheelchair so he could see Evans, of no fixed address, sentenced to a total of 34 months in jail.
But it is likely he could serve just half that before being eligible for parole.
Judge William Hart told Evans the public might view his sentence as "pathetic". He jailed him for 28 months for the assault, and implemented the six month suspended term for the previous attack.
Judge Hart said sentencing guidelines did not allow him to pass a longer term. In addition, Evans, formerly of Devereux Crescent, Stroud, had admitted the charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm on March 26 and was eligible for a reduction to the maximum sentence.
Evans wrote a letter to the court that said: "I have wrecked Mr Edmonds' life and I hate myself for it."
But the judge, who heard Evans had previous convictions including assault and battery, told him: "On this dreadful night you were drunk and looking for trouble, as appears to have become your habit.
"You struck a forceful blow to Mr Edmonds. The consequences for him have been as dramatic as they could be, short of death. It was catastrophic."
After the hearing Matthew, who had been brought to court from the spinal injuries unit at Salisbury Hospital, said he had been hoping Evans would get a longer sentence.
He said: "I came to court because I just wanted to draw a line under it all. It was quite hard being in court to hear it all and to see him. But it was something I felt I had to do.
"I am now classed as a tetraplegic, paralysed from the neck down. I do have some limited movement in my arms but that's all. I won't be able to go back to my work and I shall have to re-evaluate what I am going to do."