A Worksop thug who left a dad-of-three fighting for his life on Father’s Day weekend after a near fatal one-punch town centre assault has been jailed for two years.
Unemployed Steven Paul Hancock, 23, formerly of Yeoman Close, Worksop, was sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court on Friday after pleading guilty to causing grievous bodily harm at a previous hearing on Friday, September 11. He also admitted a separate charge of criminal damage and being found in possession of party drug MCAT, which was on a different night.
Hancock, who the court heard had 17 previous convictions for 38 different offences, punched victim Daniel Cutts, of Worksop, on a night out on Gateford Road, Worksop, in the early hours of Saturday, June 20 after a heavy night of drinking lager and vodka.
Worksop Timber employee Mr Cutts suffered a double haematoma, was placed in a medically-induced coma for more than two months and suffered an 11cm fracture to his head. The 31-year-old needed two operations, which included having a part of his skull removed and he now has to wear a safety helmet in public. He also has difficulties with his speech and is at risk of suffering from seizures.
The court heard that Hancock had been drinking in Worksop on Friday, June 19 2015 before getting a train to Sheffield with a friend. Whilst in Sheffield, Hancock was ejected from a nightclub, with CCTV footage showing him trying to provoke the doorstaff.
Hancock then returned to Worksop and carried on drinking in the Corner House with his pal, who had a disagreement with Mr Cutts in the smoking area. During this altercation, Hancock was ‘circling’ the pair, as he started ‘punching one of his hands into the other’. Mr Cutts and the male then shook hands and went their separate ways.
After the pub had closed, at about 3am, drinkers then spilled out on to the streets.
Prosecuting, Sarah Munro, said: “Mr Cutts tried to walk away with his friends. Somebody said something to him and, as a result, he and the defendant started to have the confrontation. The defendant was acting aggressive, he went over to Mr Cutts.”
The two men, who knew each other, then appeared to have been ‘sparring’ with each other, with Hancock’s mate who he had been drinking with all night shouting ‘knock him out, knock him out’.
Hancock punched Mr Cutts with his right hand, knocking him unconscious as he fell to the floor. Mr Cutts was said to have been ‘snoring’ and his left leg was ‘twitching’.
Initially, Hancock went over to Mr Cutts and tried to pull him up, before fleeing the scene. An eye witness apparently then heard Hancock say: “I did not mean to do it.”
Another person then told Hancock: “We are going to have to burn your shirt because of all the blood on it.”
It was at this point that passers-by tried to help Mr Cutts. One person attempted to lift him up but dropped him on the floor because he was ‘too heavy’, causing Mr Cutts to hit his head on the floor again.
The last court hearing was adjourned as the defence asked for further medical evidence to be provided to find out whether Mr Cutts’ injuries could have been sustained as a result of being ‘dropped’, rather than the punch. A statement read out on behalf of a medical consultant dismissed this version, saying his injuries were ‘not consistent’ with what was being argued.
CCTV footage identified Hancock and he initially made ‘no comment’ to questioning.
Mr Cutts was only allowed to return back home to his family in September.
An impact statement was read out in court on behalf of Mr Cutts’ partner Ruth Ridley.
“It has been very difficult,” she said.
“It has effected the children.”
“Daniel cannot be left alone because of the risk of seizures.
“He is not sleeping well and has panic attacks. He believes that his attacker will get him again.
She added: “I was told to prepare for the worst.”
“I used to be protected by Daniel but now I must protect him.”
In mitigation, Vanessa Marshall said the defendant was ‘terribly sorry’.
“It has shocked him to the core,” she said.
“This was not someone who continuously punched.
She added: “The defendant only wishes he could turn back the clock.
“There was clear aggression from both sides, but the defendant has to take the blame.
“He hopes that the incident will change him for the future.
“He accepts what he did and is very sorry he did it.”
The second charge of causing criminal damage and possession of drugs involved Hancock throwing a bottle through the window of a woman’s house where he had attended a party. He could not get back into the house so threw the bottle. He said that he thought he had thrown it against a wall. Hancock was then caught walking back by police with seven bags of MCAT on him. He told the police officers: “Take my MCAT out of my pocket.”
Recorder Richard Swain said he had taken into account Hancock’s early guilty plea.
“This was a very serious incident,” Recorder Swain said.
“The injuries is as serious as one could imagine.
“He is a family man with three kids. His family life has been dramatically altered.
“He suffers with his speech and concentration.
“His partner has described him as someone who cannot be left own.
“You have expressed remorse.”
Hancock, who was wearing a grey t-shirt and jeans, and has been on remand for four months, was sentenced to a total of two years in custody,