Horror attack outside bar left chef with brain injury

A 'drunk' father-of-two who inflicted a 'life-changing' brain injury on a popular young chef, temporarily robbing him of his speech, in a one-punch attack outside a Burnley bar, walked free from court.
Burnley Crown Court.Burnley Crown Court.
Burnley Crown Court.

Victim Callum Grundy (20) had no recollection of being knocked out by Jonathan Sawley when he woke up in hospital after the early hours violence, but, he told the crown’s court in a victim impact statement, he had been reminded of it every day since due to the ongoing effects on his life and work. He said: “That day was the start of a terrible nightmare.”

Mr Grundy, who had to receive regular speech therapy, also suffered a fractured left eye socket, anxiety, stress, depression and relentless headaches due to being hit by Sawley last summer. The “unprovoked” assault had also left his confidence shattered. Mr Grundy had not known where he was and had thought he was in a mental institution when he came round, was unable to communicate properly because of his injuries, tried to leave hospital and had to be restrained and sedated.

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The court heard of his mother’s shock when she saw her son unconscious and battered after she dashed to the Royal Preston Hospital. When he was later discharged to be cared for by his parents, the victim would wake up in panic, was on a lot of medication and his vocabulary was very, very limited, with the only words he was able to say being: “I know”, “mum” and “hello”. The DVLA advised the victim he would no longer be able to drive. Mr Grundy, who went to the gym regularly before the attack and had enjoyed going out, was forced to have almost three months off work and was now said to be “very much a different person” to the one who went out that night.

Mrs Grundy told in an impact statement how her son’s injuries had been life-changing not only for him, but for her and her husband as well.

The attack, outside Pharaohs Egyptian Bar, was caught on CCTV, which was played at the hearing. It showed both men leaving the club, with Sawley going one way and his victim another. They both then went round a barrier and the defendant approached Mr Grundy and hit him with his fist, knocking him to the ground, causing a brain bleed and smashing his eye.

The court was told Sawley, a plasterer not currently working, told officers on arrival at the police station: “I hope he is OK. I only gave him a crack.”

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The defendant (27), of Sharp Street, Burnley, admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm, last July 10th. He was given 12 months in jail, suspended for two years, with a 15-day rehabilitation activity requirement and a 26-week curfew between 10pm and 5-30am. The defendant was ordered to pay his victim £3,000 compensation by Judge Jonathan Gibson, who said he expected him to get a job to do so.

Stephen Parker (prosecuting) said police woke the victim’s parents to tell them what had happened about 4am.

He continued: “His mother says she was shocked when she arrived at the hospital to see the state he was in. He had bruises to his left eye, grazes at the back of his head and dried blood on his face. At that stage, he was completely unconscious and she was advised and it was subsequently confirmed, he had a fractured eye socket.”

Mr Parker said Mr Grundy was taken for a CT scan, which showed the brain and eye socket injuries. He said it was apparent Mr Grundy’s speech had been affected by the injury, but over time it slowly started to improve. The victim’s eye was examined by an ophthalmologist at the hospital, who had to prise it open.

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Carl Hargan (defending) told the court: “He appreciates the serious position he finds himself in. He is effectively a man of good character and he attends court genuinely frightened about the prospect of a custodial sentence.”

The barrister continued: “He is remorseful for what he did. But, it’s a sad fact that even one punch can have very severe effects and that’s not lost on Mr Sawley.

“He had been drinking. He was with friends in a nightclub. It’s something he will regret for the rest of his life. Something happened inside the club, that’s clear. The defendant said he walked away.”

Mr Hargan said as a result of the incident he had been diagnosed with depression.

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Sentencing, Judge Gibson said Mr Grundy sustained very serious injuries, the effects of which had improved with time, but had still not entirely resolved.

He told Sawley: “The sad fact is that whilst in many cases a single blow may result in some injury, in some cases a single blow can lead to a very significant injury indeed and sometimes death.”

Judge Gibson said it seemed as though the defendant committed the offence while under the influence of alcohol. He continued: “You have no relevant previous convictions, there are references that attest to your good character, this was a single blow, you have shown remorse more or less from the beginning and this appears to have been an isolated incident.”

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