Black Country pub attack victim still in hospital with brain damage four months on

The attacker has been jailed for 42 months.

The Phoenix on Martley Road had its licence suspended shortly after the attack
The Phoenix on Martley Road had its licence suspended shortly after the attack

A man whose pub attack left a father with such serious brain damage he is unable to care for his children has been jailed for more than three years.

Thomas Matthews' victim is still in hospital four months after he was punched outside the Phoenix pub in Oldbury last autumn.

Meanwhile his children are now being cared for by their aunt and grandmother, having lost their mother to illness several years ago.

Matthews, 29, knocked the man unconscious after hearing him make threats to get drinkers "shot up" in the smoking shelter outside the pub in Martley Road on October 24 last year.

Matthews left the scene while the victim, aged in his 40s, was taken to hospital where he had brain surgery and a tracheotomy, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.

Mr William Douglas-Jones, prosecuting, said the victim and his partner arrived at about 6.30pm and sat at a large communal table.

His partner became involved in an altercation with another woman, unrelated to the incident, where a woman dragged her to the floor.

The victim's partner was also heard saying to him "pass me your phone, I'm going to get everyone shot up in this pub, going to get it burned to the ground", the prosecution said.

The pub is on Martley Road

The pair stayed until closing time and went to the smoking area, where the victim was heard making further threats before being punched by Matthews, falling backwards to the floor unconscious, the court heard.

Matthews had initially moved towards the victim as he was concerned the victim had a weapon, Mr Douglas-Jones said.

The victim still has mild left-side weakness of both upper and lower limbs and a short-term prognosis is a need for care at home, the prosecution said.

In a victim impact statement, the victim's brother said his wife died of leukaemia years earlier so now his three children are being cared for by their aunt and grandmother.

He said: "Two weeks into his rehabilitation his family were informed that he will probably never be able to return home and live independently."

Matthews, of Bredon Court, in Halesowen, had previously pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm and had "genuine and real remorse for the victim himself, his children and his family," his defence said.

Judge Martin Jackson sentenced Matthews to 42 months in prison.

He said: "There really was no need for you to go over to the smoking shelter of the pub at closing time.

"You became involved in a confrontation, threw certainly one blow which must have connected with his chin and he fell backwards.

"The effect of that blow was extremely traumatic, he suffered serious brain damage. He has been left with permanent life-changing injuries."

The pub had its licence suspended in the aftermath of the incident when police investigating the attack found social distancing had been ignored and groups had been meeting against lockdown rules.

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