TWO thugs whose horrifying Wigan nightclub attack on a man left him with life-threatening injuries have been caged for a total of 16 years.
Neil Shuker and Bradley Phillips had both denied the serious charge of wounding with intent but a jury took just 25 minutes to find them both guilty.
Each has now been handed an eight-year jail sentence.
During the trial a jury at Liverpool Crown Court heard that the victim, Brent Croft, had no recollection of the attack but fortunately others witnessed it.
Graham Pickavance, prosecuting, told how rugby fan Mr Croft and friends watched a televised rugby match in a pub in Wigan on October 6 last year before going elsewhere to continue their night out.
Mr Croft’s next recollection was waking up in hospital. He had been admitted to Wigan Infirmary shortly after 11pm deeply unconscious suffering from extensive head and facial injuries.
“It appears he stopped breathing on the way to A&E and a CT scan revealed extension multiple and complex life-threatening facial fractures ad possible swelling to the brain. He had lacerations to his scalp and abrasions to his left cornea,” said Mr Pickavance.
Because of the severity of his injuries he was transferred to Salford Royal Hospital and police started investigations.
His friend Darren Jenkinson told officers that they had been drinking with friends at bars in the King Street area and ended up in the Revolution Bar.
He said he turned round and saw Mr Croft falling to the floor and a lad kick and punch him so hard that it changed his direction of fall. He then saw a second man kick him but did not see if it landed.
Other witnesses also spoke of seeing the victim being punched and kicked twice to the head after an incident on the dance floor involving Mr Croft apparently bumping into one of them.
One witness claimed that the larger man punched Mr Croft full in the face causing him to fall.
The two lads then went to the smoking area and then over the fence into King Street. Shuker was arrested shortly after midnight and said, “I’m not going to lie, I hit someone.”
Shuker, 28, of George Street, Hindley, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of wounding but that was not accepted by the prosecution.
When interviewed, Shuker said he had gone into the club with some girls “and the victim was dancing and staring at the girls and he thought the lad was going to hit him and so punched and kicked him once. It was like a reaction.”
Phillips, 28, of Bolton Road, Aspull, told detectives that the victim was dancing in Shuker’s face and Shuker hit him. He said he split them up and denied assaulting Mr Croft.
Mr Pickavance said that forensic scientists found DNA from the victim on the right shoe worn by Phillips and also on the shoe of Shuker which involved contact staining and blood splatter.
He told the jury that the prosecution case involved the men acting together to cause grievous bodily harm with intent.