'One punch can kill' - Mother's warning to revellers after son 'died three times' in unprovoked attack
The mother of a man who died three times when he was punched in the head from behind in an unprovoked attack is warning revellers to take care this festive period.
Kieran Lofthouse, 26, from Leeds, suffered a fractured skull and died three times in the ambulance on his way to hospital, after professional rugby player Matt Crosscombe punched him in an unprovoked attack.
Only the medical expertise of doctors saved his life following the attack in the early hours of July 8, last year, but it is not only the physical injuries including permanent scarring, which have had a lasting effect on Mr Lofthouse.
Since the attack he has suffered with PTSD, anxiety and depression.
His mother, Debbie Collins said: "He is going to be a victim for life. I am grieving for the son I had because he is not the boy he once was. He is a shell of who he used to be.
"People need to be aware, especially at this time of year. One punch - if it doesn't kill, it will change lives forever. It has done with my family."
Mr Lofthouse had been out with his girlfriend celebrating England's World Cup football match against Sweden on July 7 when, in the early hours of next morning he encountered Crosscombe, who had earlier been thrown out of a pub for being aggressive and confrontational with others.
The 6ft 3in rugby player first slapped and spat at his girlfriend, before punching Mr Lofthouse, knocking him to the ground.
Emergency services were called and Mr Lofthouse was rushed to hospital in an ambulance.
Mrs Collins said: "The doctors said if he had been left an hour more he would have died.
"He died three times in total, twice in the ambulance and once on the operating table. "
Mrs Collins received the phone call telling her her son had been attacked at 9.30am the following morning.
She recalls: "I was rushed into the family room at the hospital and they told me Kieran needed an emergency scan because was was acting strangely. The next thing they told us he was unconscious and had a fracture from the front to the back of his skull and a bleed to the brain.
"I felt numb. I don't remember a lot because I think I lost the plot a little bit, but I do remember thinking they had the wrong family. I also felt panic and anger, I kept feeling sick. he was in theatre for eight-and-a-half hours."
Mr Lofthouse spent several days in hospital, two weeks in a wheelchair and relied on family and friends to help him with the simplest tasks like eating and drinking.
He is still struggling to come to terms with what has happened and has only just managed to return to his job as a mechanical engineer.
Mrs Collins said: "He is still recovering now, he can't remember himself before this. He has anxiety and depression. He won't go anywhere there is crowds or where people are stood behind him. If we do manage to get him out we have to be with him. In the supermarket he can't filter out background noises and has been known to have panic attacks.
"It's now been 19 months and my son is still suffering mentally and financially, to the point where me and my partner have used all our savings to help him."
Mrs Collins believes there needs to be more financial and emotional support for people like her son whose lives have been changed forever through no fault of their own.
"We have had so many issues," she said.
"There have been problems with benefits. Kieran was put on income support when he should have been put on employment support and now he has to pay the money back because of someone else's mistake.
"He has had 10 sessions with a psychologist but that is all he gets. He has a three-year-old daughter and wants to be able to take her to things like soft play but he can't because of his condition..
"There needs to be more financial and mental health support for victims. The resources for all the people out there suffering are simply not there."
Crosscombe, 28, was jailed for four years for the attack on Mr Lofthouse.
A fundraising page has now been set up to help Kieran in his recovery.
Anyone wishing to donate can so by clicking here.