JUST four weeks ago, young dad Paul Ingram lay in a hospital bed in a coma fighting for his life after a brutal street attack.
His devastated family took this picture above believing it might be the last they had of their son as medics told them to fear the worst.
But the 31-year-old has defied the odds and stunned doctors with a miraculous recovery.
Paul’s parents were told by specialists that their son would probably be left brain damaged and would need round-the-clock care after he was subject to a sickening unprovoked attack.
The attack on May 1 left him on a life-support machine for more than a week with bleeding and bruising to his brain.
But remarkably Paul has fought back from the brink and is now conscious, sat up and talking.
Short-term memory loss is his only real injury.
His relieved mum, Shirley Ingram, 53, could not contain her happiness as she said: “We just can’t believe it, we had prepared ourselves for the very worst.”
Paul, who is a dad to four-year old Olivia Jade Quinn from a previous relationship, was set upon as he made his way home from a night out last month.
Sat up in his bed at the James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, he says he cannot remember a thing from the attack.
But Paul, who works at McDonald’s in Middeleton Grange Shopping Centre, Hartlepool, admitted: “I am lucky to be alive.
“I can’t remember anything, I didn’t know why I was here when I came round, but my mum explained what had happened.”
The callous early morning attack took place near the junction of York Road and Victoria Road.
Paul was taken to the University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton, before being transferred to the James Cook.
His mum and dad, Shirley, and Alan, 57, visited the hospital every day, from their family home in the Jesmond Gardens area of Hartlepool, and were warned Paul’s condition may not improve.
They told of their touching efforts to revive their “loving and battling” son.
“We had a video of Paul playing with his daughter Olivia,” said Shirley.
“We plugged some earphones in and put them in Paul’s ears, we knew that would help him fight through it.”
She added: “I can’t describe how it feels to be told that your son may be paralysed for the rest of his life, I had so many thoughts running through my head.
“I wasn’t getting a wink of sleep, it’s all we were thinking about.
“To see your son in the condition Paul was in is just awful, it’s terrible.
“But to be told there is a chance your son may not pull through and then see him how he is now is great.”