Police have admitted failing a man who was battered with a metal pole in the street – by arresting him and leaving him in a cell for 10 hours instead of seeking medical treatment.
Dean Hutton, now aged 26, was 24 when he was attacked by brothers Brett and James Garbutt. He was hit with a metal scaffolding pole, and his head was stamped on as he lay slumped on the ground.
Paramedics checked him at the scene but, when police arrived and ran Dean’s name through their database, they discovered he had missed a court appointment for a traffic offence and arrested him.
He was taken to a police station, where he was treated as drunk, but his condition deteriorated over 10 hours. When he was taken to hospital it emerged he had a fractured skull and bleeding to his brain.
Dean was placed on a life support machine, and medics at one point considered switching it off.
His parents launched a fight for compensation to provide Dean with the rehabilitation treatment and life-long care he will need and police chiefs initially denied responsibilty.
But South Yorkshire Police have now admitted liability out of court after medical experts said had Dean received medical treatment earlier, he would have made a full recovery.
Stacy Clements, of Sheffield-based law firm Irwin Mitchell, representing Dean, said: “Had the police taken note of the fact Mr Hutton had suffered a head injury, and consequently recognised the symptoms he showed through the night, he would have received medical attention much sooner.
“Although Mr Hutton was assessed by a paramedic at the scene of the assault, the station’s custody sergeant failed to take on board advice that he had suffered a head injury, and did not seek further medical help when Mr Hutton’s condition deteriorated.
“It was only 10 hours later, when he was struggling to breathe and had blood around his mouth, that officers acted, rushing him to hospital.”
Dean was taken from Main Street police station in Rotherham to Rotherham Hospital, and then transferred to the Royal Hallamshire in Sheffield where he underwent emergency surgery, but the damage was irreversible.
He has been left with physical, cognitive and behavioural difficulties.
Ms Clements said: “The admission of liability now means we can concentrate on securing medical evidence to determine the level of treatment and rehabilitation Dean now needs, as well as the care he will need for the rest of his life to help him live as independent a life as possible.
“We are working to secure a full settlement to ensure it can provide for Dean’s lifetime needs.”
Dean’s dad Roy, 59, said he was bitter that police did not get his son the treatment he needed sooner.
He said: “He could have made a full recovery, which is the frustrating and disappointing part of this.
“By the time the police got him the treatment he needed, it was too late. He was on a life support machine which was breathing for him and he was unresponsive at first. The doctors talked about switching off his machine but we asked them to give him a chance and he did pull through, but he has been robbed of the future he could have had. Dean now needs help with almost everything he does.”
South Yorkshire Police confirmed it has accepted liability for Mr Hutton’s injuries.
A spokesman said: “Our thoughts remain with Mr Hutton, his family and friends. Our solicitors are in consultation with Mr Hutton’s legal team.”