Victim ‘will never be the young man that he was,’ says judge
8:33am Tuesday 23rd October 2012 in News
A TEENAGER has been jailed for causing “catastrophic”
injuries when he attacked a young father with a single punch in Bolton town centre.
TomCooper, aged 18, of Worsley Avenue, Little Hulton, hit Callum Bowling with a “very forceful” blow in Bradshawgate on March 3.
Mr Bowling, whose daughter Grace was born just six weeks earlier, suffered life-changing injuries in the attack and now uses a wheelchair.
Yesterday, Cooper appeared at Bolton Crown Court and was jailed for 27 months for causing grievous bodily harm. Saul Brody, prosecuting, told the court Mr Bowling, from Westhoughton, and Cooper had been in Bolton town centre with their separate groups of friends when a dispute broke out in the early hours of the morning.
Mr Bowling tried to act as a “peacemaker”
but Cooper punched him, and he fell to the ground with a “very considerable impact”, the court heard.
He was rushed to Royal Bolton Hospital, where he was unconscious and put on a ventilator.
Mr Bowling had bleeding on the brain and was transferred to Salford Royal Hospital for emergency surgery.
He suffered posttraumatic amnesia, has epilepsy, poor memory and concentration, personality changes and behavioural problems, and other health issues.
Mr Bowling, who used to live with his fiancée but now lives with his mother so she can care for him, was discharged from hospital after two months but his condition deteriorated further, and he had issues with swallowing, balance and seizures.
The court heard his treatment is ongoing and he will need further surgery to reconstruct his skull.
Andrew McLoughlin, defending, told the court Cooper realised he would be jailed for the attack.
He added: “He offers his sincere apologies to the family of Callum Bowling, and Callum Bowling himself, for the consequences caused and the ongoing consequences.”
Sentencing, Judge Maureen Roddy said: “I know whatever sentence I impose is not going to restore your victim’s health. I know his family are likely to think it doesn’t fit the crime, but there are rules and sentencing has to be within those rules.
“He has suffered in his physical, mental and psycho-social health.
“He will never be the young man he was.
“His mother will not have the son she had. His daughter, who was only weeks old at the time, will not have the father she expected to have.
“The consequences of your act that night have been truly catastrophic for that family.”
She also paid tribute to Mr Bowling’s mother, Katherine Bowling.
She urged her to seek support, after being told she had received no help or compensation to help care for Mr Bowling.
Outside court, Mr Bowling’s fiancée, Beth Sutton, of Church Street, Westhoughton, said: “Grace hasn’t got a dad now. He can’t even pick her up. He can’t feed her or change her nappy.
“He loves her to pieces and it kills him not to be a dad.”
Mrs Bowling, of Lower Landedmans, Westhoughton, added: “I was expecting to be quite angry but I’m numb. I don’t know how to feel.
”Callum has to take it day by day now.
“Before this happened, he was a very good, keen football player.
“He was an amazing dad.”
And Mrs Bowling has contacted the family of Adam Rogers, who launched a campaign when the 24-year-old died after a single punch as he tried to prevent a fight in Blackburn town centre