A young Sheffield man has admitted carrying out a booze-fuelled ‘one- punch’ assault which left his victim paralysed and barely able to communicate.
Joshua Henry Corker, aged 23, will be sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court later this month for the attack which caused 35-year-old scaffolder Mark Burrows to suffer a catastrophic brain injury.
Mr Burrows was enjoying a night out with a friend in Leopold Street in Sheffield city centre in April last year when three men came his way singing football songs.
South Yorkshire Police said it is thought he made a passing remark about Sheffield United having lost the football match, to which an intoxicated Corker responded aggressively, swearing at him before punching him in the face.
Mr Burrows was rushed to hospital with head injuries and a fractured neck, and underwent complex surgery which saved his life.
While doctors initially thought he had what is known as locked-in syndrome, his condition has since been diagnosed as a state of semi-consciousness.
This means that, although he is paralysed, he can understand certain situations but has very limited communication abilities.
Mr Burrows spent 16 months in hospital and is currently at the Taylor Rehabilitation Unit at Leigh Infirmary near Wigan.
His family has been raising money to buy equipment which would allow him to be cared for at home.
His mum Christine, 57, said: “Mark’s life was instantly transformed. He was left suffering a life-threatening, severe brain injury and he can’t move or talk.
“He has been backwards and forwards between hospitals for a while and he is still in rehab.
“He does understand certain things that are happening around him and he does respond, like if we tell a joke he will laugh, although we are unsure of how much he fully understands his injuries.”
Corker, of White Lane, Chapeltown, pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm as the first day of his trial was due to start.
The case was adjourned for a pre-sentence report to be prepared and he will be sentenced on December 20.
Judge Simon Lawler QC said: “This is a tragic case – a man of previous good character has dealt one punch which has had catastrophic consequences.” He told Corker: “You no doubt regret the consequences but I have to sentence you in due course.”
Det Con Joanne de la Torre, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “This was an alcohol-fuelled attack on a man enjoying a night out in Sheffield city centre.
“This case goes to show how even a single punch can have devastating and long-lasting consequences for victims and their families. I welcome the guilty plea given at court which has saved further trauma of a trial.”