Dance floor dispute led Hindley man to attack rugby fan, court hears

Neil Shuker

Neil Shuker

First published in North West

TWO men have been jailed for a combined total of 16 years for an attack that left a rugby fan with life-threatening injuries.

Neil Shuker, of George Street, Hindley, and Bradley Phillips both denied a charge of wounding with intent but a jury at Liverpool Crown Court took just 25 minutes to find them guilty and they were both given eight year jail sentences on Monday, August 4.

The court heard during the trial that the victim, Brent Croft, had no recollection of the attack but woke up in Wigan Infirmary where he had been taken shortly after 11pm deeply unconscious suffering from extensive head and facial injuries.

Graham Pickavance, prosecuting, told how the victim had been to watch a televised rugby match in a pub in Wigan with friends on October 6 last year before going elsewhere to continue their night out.

"It appears he stopped breathing on the way to A&E and a CT scan revealed extension multiple and complex life-threatening facial fractures ad possible swelling to the brain. He had lacerations to his scalp and abrasions to his left cornea," said Mr Pickavance.

Because of the severity of his injuries he was transferred to Salford Royal Hospital.

His friend Darren Jenkinson told police officers that they were at Revolution Bar when he turned and saw Mr Croft falling to the floor and a lad kick and punch him. He then saw a second man kick him but did not see if it landed.

Other witnesses spoke of seeing the victim being punched and kicked twice to the head after an incident on the dance floor.

The two men escaped through the smoking area by jumping over the fence but Shuker was arrested shortly after midnight and told officers: "I'm not going to lie, I hit someone."

When interviewed Shuker, aged 28, said: “He thought the lad was going to hit him and so punched and kicked him once. It was like a reaction."

Phillips, also aged 28, of Bolton Road, Aspull, told detectives that the victim was dancing in Shuker's face. He said he split them up and denied assaulting Mr Croft.

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