Monday, 30 November 2015

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Cumbrian girl sees dad knocked out in attack

A three-year-old was left traumatised after seeing her father knocked unconscious in an unprovoked attack while walking home from a family party.

James Allan suffered a brain haemorrhage, a fractured skull, a perforated eardrum and temporary paralysis of his face when he was felled by a punch from 30-year-old ex-soldier Kevin Griffin.

Now – four months after the incident – hardly a day goes by when the child does not tell her dad that she thought he had died.

Griffin, of Central Avenue, Egremont, is today starting a 14-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to causing Mr Allan grievous bodily harm.

Carlisle Crown Court heard the incident happened in the car park outside the Falcon social club in Egremont at about 11.30pm on the night of Saturday, July 21.

Mr Allan happened to be passing on his way home from a family party when Griffin came out of the club with a friend.

The family were laughing among themselves, but Griffin thought they were laughing at him – and punched Mr Allan in the face, causing him to fall down and hit his head on the ground.

Mr Allan had to be put into a medically induced coma in hospital, and spent a month off work.

He suffered no permanent damage, prosecutor Becky McGregor said, but was still worried about the traumatic affect the attack had on his daughter and partner, Tracey Wilson, who were both with him when it happened.

Ms McGregor told the court Griffin had been in the club with a friend watching football when they left, planning to go home to their girlfriends for a takeaway.

But as they left the club they encountered Mr Allan and his family, who happened to be walking through the car park.

When he heard the family laughing, she said, he assumed – wrongly – that they were poking fun at him, so he confronted Mr Allan about it.

Mr Allan tried to assure him he was not the butt of their jokes, and went up to Griffin with his hands open in a gesture of conciliation, saying “Just leave it, mate”.

But Griffin took a swing at him, sending him toppling backwards.

“People heard a sickening thud – a sickening crunch – and saw Mr Allan on the ground unconscious with blood coming from his ear,” Ms McGregor said.

“His partner thought he was dead, and the three-year-old was screaming ‘Is Dad dead?’.”

Prosecution witnesses told police Griffin walked off laughing – though he denied this.

He later phoned the police and handed himself in.

Marion Weir, defending, said the punch was “a moment of madness” that had left Griffin “a broken man”.

She said his Army record showed Griffin was “a trusted, motivated and hard-working individual”.

The judge, the Hon Mr Justice Singh, told Griffin he could have killed Mr Allan. “Thankfully your victim didn’t die,” he said.

In addition to the prison sentence Griffin was ordered to pay £1,200 court costs and £500 compensation to Mr Allan.


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