Sentence 'a joke' says Newport man who lost eye in attack

South Wales Argus: SENTENCE 'A JOKE': Christopher Collins lost his eye after two strangers attacked him on New Years Day SENTENCE 'A JOKE': Christopher Collins lost his eye after two strangers attacked him on New Years Day

A NEWPORT man who lost his eye after two strangers attacked him on New Years Day has slammed the sentences handed to the culprits as “a joke” and “a kick in the guts”.

Christopher Collins was walking home from a rare night out at the Baneswell Social Club on New Year’s Eve, when he walked past five men near St Woolos Cathedral. One of them accused him of bumping into him and despite his apology followed Mr Collins as he walked away.

“He was looking for a fight,” said Mr Collins, 54, a former professional archer who shot for Wales alongside now Paralympic archer Pippa Britton. “All I wanted to do was go home.”

Mr Collins’ memory from that point on is hazy, but his 15-year-old assailant (who cannot be named) admitted common assault by pushing him over, while 18-year-old Jay Connor Lloyd, of Cedar Wood Drive, Rogerstone, pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm without intent by punching Mr Collins hard in the side of the face.

Mr Collins managed to ring his wife Jayne, 44, who dialled 999, and the pair were taken in the back of a police car straight to the Royal Gwent’s A&E department shortly before 4am.

“Chris had a CT scan, an eye scan, X-rays,” said Mrs Collins, who also shot for Wales in archery and had to take time off work when she couldn’t sleep and suffered from nightmares. “There was blood coming through his nose, his eye socket, there was so much blood.

“When they said they were going to do a CT scan I didn’t think he would come home.”

The couple, who praised police and hospital staff are “fantastic”, were initially told Mr Collins’ eye might be saved, but despite being able to see light, Mr Collins agreed for it to be removed to prevent problems spreading to his left eye.

He said: “One of the hardest things I’ve ever done is sign that consent form.”

On January 7 Mr Collins’ nose was reset and face rebuilt using four titanium plates, followed by an operation two days later to remove the eye and replace it with a prosthetic one.

“I still get pain from the bone but not much from the eye,” said Mr Collins, who has no feeling in his top lip, beneath his eye and the side of his nose. “Every now and again it feels like someone is trying to push my eye out.”

The attack left Mr Collins, a precision engineer, with a fractured cheek, a broken nose and a split eyeball - but the group of men including the two attackers went on to another party.

Newport Magistrates Court heard last month that Lloyd had consumed 15 cans of Stella, vodka, lager and cocaine before the assault while the 15-year-old had drunk seven bottles of lager, taken cocaine and had a few spliffs.

Mr Collins described the 15-year-old’s six-month referral order as “unbelievable” and that he felt “unbelievably let down by the sentence.”

Speaking after the sentencing of Lloyd, yesterday, Mr Collins said three years imprisonment was “a kick in the guts”.

“I believe the judge was very unhappy with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) because if they had brought more serious charges it could have been a longer sentence,” he said. “I don’t think anything would ever have been enough but in 18 months he’ll be out on licence.

“When you realise that when the judge says it should’ve been [a longer sentence], it’s another kick in the guts. Why wasn’t the 15-year-old sentenced on the same day? They seem to be taking the easy way out.

“We have just got to try and move on with our lives now. He’ll be in prison for 18 months but I’ll be without an eye for the rest of my life.”

Now Mr Collins has to wait around two months before the rest of his prosthetic eye, known as a shell, is sculpted and fitted.

“It will help my confidence,” he said, adding that he hopes to return to work and learn to shoot an arrow left-handed, making use of his left eye.

“I intend to carry on,” he said. “Everything takes a while, things you found very easy before are now totally different, and I need more light, my left eye gets tired quickly. Shaving is now one of the hardest things in the world.

“I have good days and bad days,” said Mr Collins, who is still taking medication to control the pain but can now sleep through the night. “The support from friends and family has been mindblowing. We tend not to give up.”

Comments (7)

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12:09pm Sat 22 Feb 14

sperduti says...

I feel so sorry for this man !! it seems to every one that its the victim who comes off worst rather than the criminal!! its innocent victims who have to suffer the nightmares loss of sleep there confidence !! jail sentences should be seen to fit the crime!!!
I feel so sorry for this man !! it seems to every one that its the victim who comes off worst rather than the criminal!! its innocent victims who have to suffer the nightmares loss of sleep there confidence !! jail sentences should be seen to fit the crime!!! sperduti

12:27pm Sat 22 Feb 14

Jonnytrouble says...

Worrying thought is when the ' violent thug ' is on the streets before we all no it ? would make my day if the thug gets hit by a bus !
Worrying thought is when the ' violent thug ' is on the streets before we all no it ? would make my day if the thug gets hit by a bus ! Jonnytrouble

12:34pm Sat 22 Feb 14

cantbelieveitsnotbetter says...

Mr Collins should receive a portion of their earnings for the rest of his life- they could have killed him. I like to think that I'm quite liberal but even taking into account the young age of one of the thugs they should have had much longer. What message is this sending out? they will have it easy in prison loads of help when they get out (if they take it up of course) but sadly I think they will be back on their estates with a badge of honour reeking havoc, just hope they dont do it again. Get some more prisons built cos im sure the lack of room currently impacts on sentencing. No country wants numbers of prisiners inside high, but the old 'if you can do the crime do the time' should be the result in many cases that all too often end up with suspended, tag, perpetrator programmes etc. if we as a society want a relatively safe place to live we should in fact be harder on criminals, short term increase in prison population but long term benefits- same old politicians though, cant or wont see beyond their term in 'power'.
All the very best mr collins
Mr Collins should receive a portion of their earnings for the rest of his life- they could have killed him. I like to think that I'm quite liberal but even taking into account the young age of one of the thugs they should have had much longer. What message is this sending out? they will have it easy in prison loads of help when they get out (if they take it up of course) but sadly I think they will be back on their estates with a badge of honour reeking havoc, just hope they dont do it again. Get some more prisons built cos im sure the lack of room currently impacts on sentencing. No country wants numbers of prisiners inside high, but the old 'if you can do the crime do the time' should be the result in many cases that all too often end up with suspended, tag, perpetrator programmes etc. if we as a society want a relatively safe place to live we should in fact be harder on criminals, short term increase in prison population but long term benefits- same old politicians though, cant or wont see beyond their term in 'power'. All the very best mr collins cantbelieveitsnotbetter

1:06pm Sat 22 Feb 14

biker1 says...

The cps are a joke. They pick and choose their cases on probabilities of success. Their lawyers can't argue for anything in court as they totally incompetent.
I'm not surprised the majority of people walk free from court. This member of public has been let down massively and deserves an answer.
If it was a cos lawyer who was the victim I bet it would have. Been attempt murder.
Cps........you should be ashamed of yourselves.... We'll done police for trying.
The cps are a joke. They pick and choose their cases on probabilities of success. Their lawyers can't argue for anything in court as they totally incompetent. I'm not surprised the majority of people walk free from court. This member of public has been let down massively and deserves an answer. If it was a cos lawyer who was the victim I bet it would have. Been attempt murder. Cps........you should be ashamed of yourselves.... We'll done police for trying. biker1

1:41pm Sat 22 Feb 14

BUDDAH WELSH says...

sperduti wrote:
I feel so sorry for this man !! it seems to every one that its the victim who comes off worst rather than the criminal!! its innocent victims who have to suffer the nightmares loss of sleep there confidence !! jail sentences should be seen to fit the crime!!!
Shocking crime and the sentence is a joke there should be an appeals process for victims because this is not the correct punishment for a man losing his eye. I hope Mr Collins can come to terms with what happened and I wish him a speedy recovery. This mindless thug who attacked an innocent man, what goes through their heads when they do something this bad?.
[quote][p][bold]sperduti[/bold] wrote: I feel so sorry for this man !! it seems to every one that its the victim who comes off worst rather than the criminal!! its innocent victims who have to suffer the nightmares loss of sleep there confidence !! jail sentences should be seen to fit the crime!!![/p][/quote]Shocking crime and the sentence is a joke there should be an appeals process for victims because this is not the correct punishment for a man losing his eye. I hope Mr Collins can come to terms with what happened and I wish him a speedy recovery. This mindless thug who attacked an innocent man, what goes through their heads when they do something this bad?. BUDDAH WELSH

7:43am Sun 23 Feb 14

Welshlady7141 says...

It's ridiculous really. I know someone who had his nose broken in Newport by some bloke all over a handshake. He cant have his nose reset although they did try and he admitted to it when police found him and there were no charges given at all. Quite disheartening to be honest. The aftermath is the worst of sleepless nights, worrying of it happening again, the fact it cant be reset. None of these things ever seem to be taken into account. I feel for you Mr Collins and your family and can only slightly imagine your frustration
It's ridiculous really. I know someone who had his nose broken in Newport by some bloke all over a handshake. He cant have his nose reset although they did try and he admitted to it when police found him and there were no charges given at all. Quite disheartening to be honest. The aftermath is the worst of sleepless nights, worrying of it happening again, the fact it cant be reset. None of these things ever seem to be taken into account. I feel for you Mr Collins and your family and can only slightly imagine your frustration Welshlady7141

5:01pm Sun 23 Feb 14

bravoscar says...

15 cans of Stella? Somehow I think not.
15 cans of Stella? Somehow I think not. bravoscar

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