Man jailed for attack that left victim unable to walk or talk

Victim: Phillip Snowden
Victim: Phillip Snowden
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A MAN has been jailed for a vicious drink-fuelled attack in a nightclub which has left his victim permanently disabled, unable to walk or even talk again.

Adam Smith, 25, launched the unprovoked violence on Phillip Snowden in Mustang Sally’s in Wakefield on October 16, last year.

He first punched him around eight times flooring him and then kicked him in the face ”like a goalkeeper trying to kick the ball over the half way line,” Michael Smith, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court yesterday.

Mr Snowden, 33, a welder fabricator from Pontefract suffered devastating injuries including brain damage and a fractured vertebra which will mean that he will need care for the rest of his life.

He had only been married a short time and he and his wife Lisa were hoping to adopt children before starting a new life in Canada.

Smith, of Cobblers Lane, Pontefract, was jailed for nine years and four months after admitting causing him grievous bodily harm with intent.

Sentencing him, Judge Christopher Batty said Mr Snowden left home and went for a night out with friends. “He never came back and that’s because of you.”

He told Smith that within him he had a streak which led to him behaving violently, first shown as teenager in trouble at school and then in 2007 again when, in drink, he had knocked someone unconscious in the queue at the same nightclub where “Mr Snowden met his fate that night”.

Police decided only to caution him for that, “God knows why,” said the judge. Smith was cautioned again for punching another man in Pontefract later the same year.

“Then in October last year you got yourself into a rage fuelled by excessive alcohol.”

Mr Snowden had done nothing to him and backed away on the dance floor with his hands up indicating he did not want any trouble when Smith went towards him, some witnesses describing him brandishing a bottle.

“What gave you the right in those circumstances to launch the most vicious attack upon him I suspect you will never know.

“He was left with a severe head injury and fracture of his spine. That he will never walk again, that he will never talk again and that he will never be able to share any time with his wife in any meaningful way, is because of you, in drink.”

“No sentence I can impose can ever in any way compensate the family for what they have been through and will continues to go through because of what you did.”

Robin Frieze for Smith said: “He acknowledges this was horrendous behaviour. A day does not go by when he doesn’t sit and think about what he has done to Mr Smith.”

After the case Detective Superintendent Paul Taylor said: “This was a vicious unprovoked attack which led to injuries so severe that the victim will be disabled for the rest of his life and will require extensive around-the-clock care. This case serves as a stark reminder, if ever one was needed, of the consequences of violence and what such acts can do to all those whose lives are affected.”

He paid tribute to the great dignity shown by the Snowden family through the court case.

Mr Snowden’s father Frank described his son as gentle giant who never hurt anybody. “The sentence is immaterial in some ways, it can’t change what has happened to Phillip or make his life better.”