Terrible injuries inflicted by Scarborough man Samuel Mason with a single punch, court told

A man who was knocked out cold by a single punch has told how his life and career had been wrecked after suffering a fractured skull and bleed on the brain.

Thursday, 6th August 2020, 3:21 pm
Updated Thursday, 6th August 2020, 3:26 pm

The 44-year-old victim, a design engineer, was out in Scarborough town centre when he got into an argument with 22-year-old Samuel Mason, York Crown Court heard.

Mason struck the named victim in the face with such force he was immediately knocked unconscious and fell to the ground, banging his head on the pavement.

Mason then walked off, leaving the victim lying in a pool of blood and not moving, said prosecutor Rob Galley.

Samuel Mason

The incident, which occurred at about 3am on September 22 last year, was captured on CCTV and surveillance operatives called police who found the victim surrounded by a “pool of blood”.

He was taken to Scarborough Hospital by ambulance where a CT scan revealed a fractured skull and cheekbone. He was transferred to Hull Royal Infirmary where he had an epileptic fit.

He spent 10 days in the Hull hospital where he was given epilepsy medication before being transferred back to Scarborough Hospital for further tests which revealed severe cognitive impairment resulting from his brain injuries.

This included speech impairment, memory problems and difficulty swallowing.

He was transferred to the Woodlands Neurological Rehabiliation Centre in York on October 29 by which time - six weeks after the attack - he was still having seizures and receiving more medication, as well as language and speech therapy.

Experts said that while it was likely that he would eventually be able to live a fully-independent life again, it could take up to two years before he regained normal brain function.

There was also a “great risk” that he could suffer from “post-traumatic epilepsy” and he had been left with a droop to his face.

Mr Galley said the victim had been drinking quite heavily before he came across Mason, who was walking through town with his girlfriend.

There was an altercation between the men whereupon Mason, who was drunk, threw “one hard punch which floored (the victim)”.

A CCTV operative followed Mason’s movements as he walked off and was able to guide police to his location. He was arrested and told officers the victim “said something and I snapped”.

Mason, of Grosvenor Road, Scarborough, was apologetic, “saying he didn’t know (that the blow) would have hurt him that bad”, added Mr Galley.

He appeared for sentence on Tuesday after pleading guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm on the victim.

The court heard that Mason had no previous convictions but had a caution to his name for battery from December 2017.

Mr Galley said the victim had to take seven months off work and his loss of earnings were considerable, to the tune of tens of thousands of pounds.

The victim, whose glasses were smashed when his head hit the ground, said he had spent about half a year on statutory sick pay following the incident. He eventually returned to work “a little” in April, but now struggled with basic tasks.

The “high-level” computer-based engineer said he could no longer drive "because of the tablets I’m on for seizures”.

He now suffered from acute stress, struggled to pay his bills and sometimes had difficulty remembering even basic words.

Defence barrister Nick Peacock said that Mason, who worked as fish fryer, had “not been looking for trouble” but “snapped” during the confrontation with the victim.

Judge Simon Hickey described the incident as a “tragedy” for the victim whose devastating injuries had been “life-changing”.

He said although Mason had acted “out of character”, he had to send him straight to jail “given the severity of the injuries occasioned and (the fact that) you simply walked away, leaving a man unconscious in the street and bleeding”.

“(The victim) has difficulty, still, in understanding and formulating his words,” added the judge.

“The brain injury has resulted in a significant impact on his brain function. There is no reason for a 22-year-old to punch a man twice his age.”

Mason was given an 18-month jail sentence, of which he will serve half behind bars before being released on prison licence.

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