A father has shared how his son awoke from a coma just before his life support was due to be turned off.
James Howard-Jones, 28, has been pronounced brain dead after being beaten by a racquet on a Cheltenham street on April 24, 2022.
Yesterday he admitted to intentionally causing grievous bodily harm to James and was sentenced to two years and four months in prison.
The attack happened while James was out with friends one evening to watch a boxing match between Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte, Gloucester Crown Court learned.
But James was beaten by Davies after leaving the MooMoo clubroom at 1am and fell unconscious after hitting his head, prosecutor Jack Berry said.
He was then rushed to the hospital, where he remained unconscious for several weeks and underwent several emergency surgeries.
James’ father, Neil Howard-Jones, told Judge Martin Picton that when he regained consciousness, the family was considering requesting organs for transplant.
He said: “For the first few weeks we were told by the doctors treating James that he was brain dead and that the best thing we could do was let him die.”
“I’ve been asked questions no parent should ever be asked, like allowing their organs to be harvested. We agreed that this should happen and arrangements were made for a transplant donation.”
“We agreed this should be postponed by a week to allow family and friends to say goodbye to James. The stress was enormous.”
“Incredibly, despite what the experts had told us, James regained consciousness. Initially, he could only make eye contact and was unable to move or speak.
“Slowly, James’ condition improved enough for him to be transferred to a rehabilitation center. However, due to multiple seizures, he had to be hospitalized several times. We didn’t know if he would survive or not.”
“Currently he needs help getting out of bed just to go to the toilet. He can use a wheelchair, but due to fatigue he can only use it for a few hours a day.”
“We have no illusions that James’ brain damage is long term and will require some level of care for the rest of his life.”
He went on to explain that his son will now be “permanently disabled in virtually every aspect of his life.”
Judge Picton told Davies: “You will serve your sentence and be released. Mr. Howard-Jones will never be set free from what you did to him, and neither will those who love him.”
“The personal testimony of the victim’s father is one of the saddest I have ever experienced.”
He continued, “I am aware that the verdict I am delivering does not come close to reflecting the terrible damage you have caused.”
“No sentence could do that. However, I am limited by the maximum penalty guidelines.”
Nick Murphy, defending himself, said: “My client’s decision to hit Mr Howard-Jones had a profound impact on him. He wants me to apologize for what he did tonight, if it’s worth anything.”
“He understands that nothing said on his behalf can undo the damage he caused and the impact his single blow had on his victim.”
Judge Picton told Davies: “You delivered a hard punch which was totally unnecessary. Nothing that happened before or at the moment you hit your victim even justifies or explains what was a totally uncharacteristic reaction of yours.” a trivial exchange on the street.
“The punch you delivered sent James flying backwards and falling to the ground. The subsequent blow to the back of his head nearly killed him.”
“The decision was made to turn off the life support system just before he regained consciousness. But the life he leads now is only a shadow of what it once was – both mentally and physically.
“While I accept that you are genuinely remorseful, the messages you sent to your friends immediately afterwardsI don’t appreciate you at all and I think that’s an aggravating factor in this case.”