A THUG who launched separate unprovoked attacks on two revellers – leaving one of his victims needing emergency brain surgery –is facing at least seven years in jail.
Keith Anderson, 28, was due to stand trial after being charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Albert Duffy, and a lesser charge of GBH for a similar attack on Adam Crosbie just a few minutes later.
But after legal discussions at Teesside Crown Court, Anderson chose to admit to the charges. He was told by the judge that he would face at least seven years in jail, with the prospect of a longer term should a pre-sentence report determine him to be a danger.
The court heard both incidents were one punch attacks.
Anderson launched his first attack on Mr Crosbie in the early hours of Sunday, July 27, last year after he approached his victim and a friend opposite the Grand Hotel in Victoria Road.
Without warning, the dad-of-one punched Mr Crosbie in the face, causing him to fall to the ground and hit his head on the pavement.
After leaving the scene, Anderson made his way towards The Showroom pub further up Victoria Road, and after a brief exchange of words with Mr Duffy he also knocked him to the floor with a single blow.
Mr Duffy, a soldier, was rushed to James Cook University Hopsital in Middlesbrough where at CT scan revealed a fractured skull and bleeding on both sides of his brain which required surgery.
More than five months on, Mr Duffy is still being treated as an in-patient at the Headley Court military unit in Surrey.
Anderson was arrested when police visited his home in Throston Grange Lane, Hartlepool, on July 30.
Police seized clothes and a copy of the Hartlepool Mail dated July 29, which Anderson referred to and said: “That is me you are looking for in the paper.”
Robin Turton, prosecuting, said: “Mr Duffy is in court today, but a victim impact statement from his mother sets out in graphic terms the injuries and impact this has had on his family.
“It has had a significant effect on the process of memory, and his mother has noticed a complete change in personality.
“He remains an in-patient at Headley Court, he will remain there for several moths more and may require more neuro rehabilitation.
“For Adam Crosbie, the prognosis is much better, it appears his long-term prognosis is better than Mr Duffy’s.
“He has, to all intents and purposes, made a good recovery.”
Defending Anderson, who was described in court as a farmhand/labourer, Ian Mullarkey added: “This was a single blow in both assaults.
“He has shown genuine remorse for causing the injuries which he did.
“There is no dispute over the attacks, but only of the intent. Whatever he intended on this particular night, he never intended to cause this type of injury and hopes Mr Duffy makes a good recovery from the injuries he sustained.”
After hearing Anderson plead guilty, Recorder Patrick Palmer said: “You know that when it comes to sentence you are facing a significant prison sentence.
“You have heard the indications I’ve given to the court, and I will decide on the period of sentence when I have considered the pre-sentence report.”
Sentencing was adjourned until a date to be fixed, and Anderson was remanded in custody.