One punch attack left father with brain injury

Robert Lawless Image copyright Cumbria Police
Image caption Robert Lawless, 21, admitted grievous bodily harm

A man who punched a father causing him to suffer a "devastating" brain injury has been jailed for 32 months.

Robert Lawless hit Derek Broughton, 55, in Robert Street, Carlisle, on 8 June, causing him to fall back and hit his head on the pavement.

He suffered a life-threatening bleed on the brain and had to have a section of his skull removed during surgery.

Lawless, 21 and of Oaklands Drive, Carlisle, admitted grievous bodily harm at Carlisle Crown Court.

Judge James Adkin told Lawless the impact of his actions had been "enormous" for Mr Broughton and his family.

He added: "Their world has been torn apart by your cowardly, thuggish behaviour."

The court heard the night Lawless unexpectedly punched Mr Broughton, was the first time they had met.

'Miss the man I met'

In a statement Mr Broughton's wife described him as "once such a huge centre of attention and loudest of them all".

"Derek is no longer that person," she added.

"I massively miss the man I met. The kids have lost the dad they knew."

Det Supt Helen Harkins, from Cumbria Police, said: "I can only hope this incident can serve as a warning to people about just how dangerous a single punch can be.

"In this instance [it] caused traumatic brain injuries which could easily have proved fatal if not for the swift and effective work of medical professionals.

"The result of this single moment of violence is a victim who has suffered injuries which could potentially impact the rest of his life and an offender who will now serve a sentence in prison."

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