A MAN who was left fighting for his life after a street attack has been granted a “triple blessing” and is due to become a dad to triplets.
Paul Ingram was assaulted as he made his way home from a night out in Hartlepool town centre and ended up in intensive care battling for survival.
But after fighting his way out of the coma and overcoming a severe brain injury, he was allowed home after seven weeks and quickly started a romance with his now wife Joanne Ingram, nee Winter, last September.
The devoted pair are now due to become parents to triplets this week.
Paul, 33, asked for Joanne’s hand in marriage just two weeks into their relationship when he got down on one knee in the all-you-can-eat Chinese Buffet King, in Park Road.
Five months later on February 13, Joanne, 24, had a surprise of her own for Paul on his return from his job at McDonald’s – a positive pregnancy test.
To seal their relationship and impending family, the delighted pair got married at the Borough Hall, on the Headland, and celebrated a reception in the King Johns Tavern, off Victoria Road.
Their triple-shock was to come in April when a routine scan showed that Joanne, also mum to five-year-old Jessica Winter from a previous relationship, was expecting triplets.
And their bundles of joy – two boys and girl – are due to make an appearance into the world this Wednesday when Joanne, who lives with now unemployed Paul in Suffolk Close, Belle Vue, is being taken into hospital.
“It’s quite a good blessing to go through all that and then have something so good come out at the end of it,” said Joanne, a former pupil of Dene Community School, in Peterlee.
“Paul almost died and he thought his life was over really but then to be given this gift of triplets, well it’s just amazing.
“We’re both really excited and can’t wait until the babies are born.”
She added: “We couldn’t believe it when we were told at the scan.
“The woman doing the scan was rubbing the scanner on my tummy and she asked if we’d had fertility treatment or IVF and I said no.
“She said to us; “Well you seem to be having triplets.”
“We couldn’t believe it.”
Former Manor College of Technology pupil Paul had been out with his brother, Gary, 29, but became separated from him and was believed to be making his way home when he was set upon near the junction of York Road and Victoria Road in the early hours of Sunday, May 1, last year.
His attacker Steven Pink denied inflicting grievous bodily harm, claiming self-defence, but was found guilty after a trial, which included CCTV footage of the incident.
It showed Pink and Mr Ingram “squaring up to each other like boxers,” said Judge Peter Armstrong.
Pink, of Bolchow Road, Middlesbrough, was sentenced to 12-months in prison, suspended for 18 months, with 12 months of probation and was also given a three month curfew between 9pm and 8am.