Student suffers fractured skull

Matthew Copeland
Matthew Copeland

AN INNOCENT university student told how he was left with a three-inch crack to his skull after being unwittingly caught up in a bar brawl.

Matthew Copeland had been out with friends at Newcastle University Students’ Union bar and was leaving with pals when he was suddenly attacked.

The 22-year-old Northumbria University law student was hit in the head, knocked to the ground and was left unconscious.

When he came round his friends took him to hospital in a taxi, and x-rays showed he had a fractured skull as well as internal bleeding and bruising to the front of his brain.

He spent three days in the Royal Victoria Infirmary, in Newcastle, but was discharged and allowed to return to his home in Amerston Close, Wynyard, on Tuesday night.

And Matthew, a keen skier who spent the summer teaching the sport in New Zealand, has now been ordered to rest, meaning it could be weeks before he can return to his final year lectures and studies.

Today, Matthew, who lives in Jesmond, Newcastle, during term-time, said: “The last thing I remember is being outside with my friends and it’s a complete blank after that.

“The next thing I remember was my friends saying we had to get in a taxi and get to accident and emergency.

“I remember having quite an intense headache.”

He added: “It’s scary to think that something like this can happen from nowhere. One minute you’re standing talking and the next you’re lying on the ground.

“I suppose this will make me more wary of going out. I’ve never been attracted to places where trouble has been a regular thing.

“Whoever did this might not have intended to cause the damage they did but this just goes to show that what was possibly one punch can cause a lot of damage.”

Matthew, a former Red House School pupil, in Norton, also said the true impact of the attack will only become clear in time with medics hoping he will only suffer short-term disorientation and pain while the bruising heals, rather than long-term brain damage.

Matthew’s dad Gary Copeland, a corporate lawyer who also owns a business with offices in Teesside, Scotland and America, described the incident as a “moronic action” and appealed for those responsible to show some remorse and come forward.

The 53-year-old, who lives with his wife Maxine and their other sons Nick, 23, and Tom, 14, said: “What I hope is that whoever did this will see or hear about this being publicised and feel full of remorse and come forward.

“It is a moronic act that they’ve carried out, which is complete cowardice.

“How can someone regard that as normal human conduct?

“I would love the chance to meet them and sit in front of them, perhaps with their parents, and discuss the consequences of their actions.”

A Northumbria police spokesman said: “We are appealing for witnesses after a report of an assault.

“It happened in the early hours of Sunday at Newcastle University Students’ Union, when a disturbance took place outside in the seating area.

“Police are making inquiries.”

Anyone with any information should contact Northumbria Police on 101 extension 69191 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.