Search

‘One punch ruined our son’s life’ - Great Yarmouth assault victim left with half a skull

12:43 18 June 2013

Michael Evans, 28, of Stanley Road, Great Yarmouth, was left with brain damage after a one-punch assault. His attacker has been jailed for three years.

Michael Evans, 28, of Stanley Road, Great Yarmouth, was left with brain damage after a one-punch assault. His attacker has been jailed for three years.

Archant

This is the shocking picture which a Norfolk family hopes will warn others of the devastating impact a single punch can have on someone’s life.

Daniel Brzozowski: Police pictureDaniel Brzozowski: Police picture

Qualified bar manager Michael Evans, 28, had his hands in his pockets when an amateur boxer landed a blow to his head on a night out in Great Yarmouth.

The Stanley Road resident spent three weeks in a coma at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, and his parents did not know if he would live or die.

Mr Evans pulled through but suffered severe brain damage, leaving him unable to use a knife or fork or even write his own name.

As his 21-year-old attacker Daniel Brzozowski was jailed for three years, Mr Evans’ family released this picture of their son in hospital.

Barrister warns of consequences of assaults

A leading barrister has warned of the consequences of late night drunken assaults on both victims and perpetrators after his client was jailed for three years for leaving another man brain-damaged.

Daniel Brzozowski, 21, appeared at Norwich Crown Court for sentencing yesterday after earlier pleading guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to Michael Evans in Yarmouth town centre last November.

Prosecutor Chris Youell said Mr Evans nearly died from the unprovoked attack and spent three months in hospital.

He cannot work and needs constant care from his mother and stepfather.

Mr Evans was walking away from trouble with his hands in his pockets when he was punched in the head by Brzozowski, an amateur boxer.

Brzozowski, from Albany Road, Yarmouth, ran off but was later arrested by police after they traced his movements on CCTV.

Afterwards, Brzozowski’s barrister, Ross Burrows said: “This single punch in drink will haunt Daniel for many years, if not the rest of his life.

“This is a prime example of why a message needs to be sent out to those in drink, especially the younger section of our society.”

The court heard that the attack happened near the Wilco store around midnight on November 24 last year.

Mr Evans, 28, from Stanley Road, Yarmouth, was knocked out, and hit his head on the payment when he fell to the ground. He was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge, where a CT scan revealed he had suffered a severe traumatic brain injury, bleeding on the brain, and a broken jaw.

Mr Burrows said: “He misjudged the situation and felt threatened. It will stay with him for the rest of his life. He has not been out since and does not drink. It was a moment of madness.”

Recorder Mark Dennis told Brzozowski: “It was yobbish, violent behaviour, late at night, when in drink. It was a life-changing event for the victim, who will never be the same person again.

“You know how to punch and how to hurt someone, and you know the consequences of a heavy punch.”

Their hope is that the image will highlight how a single action can devastate an entire family and the dangers of drink.

And they have warned that violence while in drink can have tragic consequences that last forever.

Brzozowski was jailed for three years at Norwich Crown Court yesterday, but Mr Evans’ mother Linda Etheridge feels justice has not been served. “It’s disgusting,” said the 50-year-old. “He took my son’s life.

“He’s walking round at the moment with half a skull. I have to take him where he wants to go. He can’t go anywhere by himself.”

And she fears her son may never be able to work again. “His right hand can’t work at the moment but he’s practising with the XBox controller,” said Mrs Etheridge. “He can’t use a knife and fork or a pen.

“We’ve only just been able to get him to go out, up town. He would freak out. He was always out with his mates before – he liked pool and nights out.”

She said his memory is now so poor he could not recognise his two-year-old niece when she visited him.

And his behaviour can be erratic, leaving him vulnerable.

“Michael is a different lad completely,” she revealed. “The way he talks is different, his laugh is different. It’s probably hit his younger brother the hardest.”

She added he can remember some things from before the attack, but many of them are “jumbled” and he has developed a shorter temper.

“He puts things down then thinks people have taken them,” she explained. “He remembers places he used to go and places he used to work. He used to work at a hotel in Essex and he remembers it like yesterday.

“But he couldn’t tell you what he did yesterday.”

Mr Evan’s father Andy said the last seven months have been “hell”.

“Nobody could tell us if he was going to live or die,” said the 60-year-old. “It was constant stress.

“Basically he woke up in January and thought it was November.”

Mr Evans is due to have a titanium plate fitted in his skull on June 27, but his parents are taking things day by day. “Hopefully there will be a bit more improvement then, but really they can’t tell us,” he added. “It’s all in the lap of the gods.”

He is still struggling to walk, as he has a fused hip and had learned a special way of coping with it before the attack. And Mr Etheridge said the tragedy has placed a burden on the whole family.

“He’s a 28-year-old 12-year-old at the moment,” he said. “He has no memory of the incident and he has no idea of what this guy looks like or anything. The past seven months have turned our lives upside down. It’s been hell. What they don’t take into account when they go into court is the impact right across the family and his close-knit friends who are like family. If we weren’t so strong it could have divided us.”

Mr Etheridge attended yesterday’s court hearing and has seen the CCTV footage of his son being “pole-axed”.

Looking stony-faced, he said of the three-year jail sentence: “It’s what I expected. He was charged with it being GBH without intent as it was one punch. I don’t think it’s right, but I suppose that’s the law.”

And as his family adjust to life after the attack, they have hailed family and friends at the Ladyhaven pub in Cobholm for their support.

Mrs Etheridge said: “I would like to thank his friends for being there.

“A lot would have backed off, but his close circle of friends have been there for us.” She expressed her gratitude to Rachel, Lindsay, Josh, Boswell, Gemma, Michael Howard and everyone at the pub.

Other News

1 minute ago
Rio and Zeus after being rescued by the RSPCA.  Photo: Redwings Animal Sanctuary

More than 1,000 calls were made to the RSPCA over concerns for the welfare of horses in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire last year, figures from the animal charity reveal.

Yesterday, 16:22
Tamara Miller with her young son Harry.
Harry suffers a range of problems but his condition remains undiagnosed.
A charity golf tournament is raising money for sensory lights to help stimulate him.

Picture: James Bass

He seemed like the perfect baby - never any trouble, sleeping soundly and with a quiet, undemanding cry.

Yesterday, 12:22
Raymond and Joyce Waplington of Gorleston celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary

Flowers from the petrol station are normally in order when you forget a birthday or anniversary.

Yesterday, 09:21
Studying plans on the new site being acquired by Centre 81 are chief executive Diana Staines, Karl Jermyn (left), chairman of the trustees, and Trevor Wainwright, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council.

Centre 81’s plan to expand its services for disabled people in new state-of-the-art facilities has taken a major step forward.

Most Read

Yesterday, 16:22
Tamara Miller with her young son Harry.
Harry suffers a range of problems but his condition remains undiagnosed.
A charity golf tournament is raising money for sensory lights to help stimulate him.

Picture: James Bass

He seemed like the perfect baby - never any trouble, sleeping soundly and with a quiet, undemanding cry.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:04
Alicat Workboats handing over new windfarm service boat to Iceni Marine, the Iceni Vengeance at its naming ceremony.
The boat is the first of a new design to be built in Great Yarmouth, having been developed by Alicat’s sister company, South Boats IOW, on the Isle of Wight.

Simon Coote of Alicat with Margaret Turner who named the boat.

Picture: James Bass

The East coast’s growing status as a key hub for offshore wind was underlined with the launch of a new generation windfarm support boat at the Great Yarmouth yard of Alicat Workboats.

Read more
Wales
Yesterday, 12:22
Raymond and Joyce Waplington of Gorleston celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary

Flowers from the petrol station are normally in order when you forget a birthday or anniversary.

Read more
Gorleston
Saturday, March 28, 2015
Proud parents Tony and Janice Velkov with their son Santino who is celebrating his 18th birthday after being born at just 24 weeks.
Looking through old photographs of Santino when he was in hospital.

Picture: James Bass

Eighteen years ago after their son was born prematurely at 24 weeks. Tony and Janice Velkov were summoned to a death bed baptism.

Read more
Bradwell
Friday, March 27, 2015
Gary Baker (far right) and other residents from Avocet Way in Bradwell have been told that must take their wheelie bins to a collection point rather than leaving them outside their homes.

Picture: James Bass

A borough-wide plan to change doorstep bin collections has been slammed by residents who will now have to drag their rubbish away from their homes.

Read more
Great Yarmouth Borough Council

Most Commented

Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Gorleston feathers Plain and Library

History lovers gathered to remember a pioneering chapter of Gorleston’s history when a plaque was unveiled to commemorate the town’s tram service.

Read more
Great Yarmouth

Local Weather

Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 4°C

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Great Yarmouth Mercury e-edition today E-edition