Man, 23, left paralysed and brain damaged after single punch
A man has been left paralysed and brain damaged after being struck down by a single punch in the street, a court heard.
The blow caused the 23-year-old victim to fall and bang his head on the pavement, causing injuries that have had an "utterly devastating" effect on his life.
The assault happened outside McDonald's, near Leicester Clock Tower, in the early hours of Saturday, July 21, last year.
Joshua Smith (19), who delivered the punch, pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm at Leicester Crown Court yesterday. The assault by Smith, of Upper Temple Walk, Beaumont Leys, Leicester, was preceded by a verbal exchange between some of those at the scene during a night out.
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Victoria Rose, prosecuting, said that, after being punched, the victim was transferred to Queen's Medical Centre, in Nottingham, where he had an operation for bleeding on his brain.
During the surgery, he suffered a stroke and ended up in a coma in the intensive care unit, before regaining consciousness.
He has now been transferred to a neurological centre in Peterborough.
"There are days when he recognises his family and days when he doesn't," said Miss Rose.
"He has only slight movement in his left arm.
"He's now able to swallow.
"He still needs one-to-one care."
Miss Rose said the victim was due to be assessed for an operation to replace part of his skull that was removed during the earlier surgery.
She added that the victim remained "extremely poorly", with an unknown prognosis.
The victim's relatives and friends packed into in the public gallery of the court for the hearing and several sobbed as the medical details were given. The defendant's family were also present in court. Sentencing was adjourned so pre-sentence and psychiatric reports on the defendant could be prepared for the judge's consideration.
Smith was released on bail.
Judge Simon Hammond said: "This is a desperately sad case.
"The consequences have been utterly devastating for the complainant and his family.
"No-one can turn the clock back.
"It involved one punch.
"This case is one of the most difficult of cases for any judge to sentence."
He told Smith: "The court will be considering a custodial sentence."