A man who left a social worker disabled after attacking him outside a pub has been spared jail thanks to the victim’s plea for leniency.
Carl Edwards was given a suspended sentence despite causing permanent brain injuries to the 39-year-old victim in an attack outside Bar Trio in Headingley, Leeds,
The victim needed three operations after suffering a blood clot inside his skull.
His speech has been affected, his mobility has been permanently reduced and he is no longer able to continue his job with Leeds City Council.
But a court heard the victim has since met with Edwards and forgiven him for the injuries he caused.
The victim and his family bear no ill feeling towards Edwards and told police officers they did not wish for him to go to prison.
Edwards, of St Catherine’s Crescent, Bramley, was found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm after a trial over the incident in May 2013.
Leeds Crown Court heard Edwards handed himself in to police following a media appeal to trace the attacker.
He was given a two year prison sentence, suspended for two years, ordered to do 300 hours unpaid work and pay the victim £1,500 compensation.
Judge Neil Clark told Edwards: “It seems that by one blow you have altered his life forever in a terrible way.
“I have been swayed by your mitigating circumstance and the kindness of the people whose lives you have affected.
“You owe your freedom largely to those people whose lives you have affected.”
Nigel Shepherd, mitigating, said Edwards worked hard for his family and, in every other way apart from the conviction,could be described as a “model citizen”.
He said Edwards had handed himself as soon as he realised he was a suspect.
He added: “It is unusual that the victim’s family should have taken the stance that they have.”
The judge replied: “It is very much to their credit that they have.”
After the case Detective Superintendent Simon Atkinson of West Yorkshire Police Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said: “The victim of this attack remained critically ill in hospital for a long period of time during which his family waited anxiously for any signs of improvement in his condition.
“He did eventually regain consciousness but has been left with serious life-changing injuries that require long-term care and rehabilitation.
“This case once again illustrates the very serious consequences that throwing just one punch can have on the lives of others. Carl Edwards will have to live with that on his conscience for the rest of his life.”