Londonderry man jailed for one-punch brain injury attack

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A 34-year-old who left a man with a brain injury after a one-punch attack has been sentenced to 16 months.

Andrew McLaughlin will serve half his sentence in custody and half on licence.

McLaughlin, of Shanreagh Park in Londonderry, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm in the early hours of January 10.

Londonderry Crown Court heard the assault took place during a birthday party at Pitcher’s Wine Bar.

The injured party was going into the function room when he was tapped on the shoulder.

He turned around and McLaughlin punched him on the right side of the face.

The victim was left unconscious with a trickle of blood coming from his nose and his ear. When paramedics arrived they suspected he had hit his head off a table as he fell.

He was initially taken to Altnagelvin Hospital and was then transferred to the ICU of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. He sustained two haematomas and a fracture of the skull.

The man was kept in ICU for 10 days, and is still being treated as an outpatient. The court heard he continues to suffer from tinnitus, light heads, decreased concentration and increased irritability.

After McLaughlin admitted the attack he told police he had met the man in the smoking area, where he had made comments about McLaughlin taking steroids.

McLaughlin said he approached the victim 20 minutes later, tapped him on the shoulder and punched him once.

He told the police he trained regularly, had been a kick boxer and was annoyed about the comment made by the injured party.