Thug’s appeal against sentence fails

Police seal off Revolution on King Street following the attack
Police seal off Revolution on King Street following the attack

A WIGAN thug who put a man in a coma with a vicious assault deserved every day of his tough sentence, top judges have ruled.

Neil Barry Shuker, 29, of George Street, Hindley, was put away for eight years at Liverpool Crown Court on August 4 last year for the vicious assault.

Neil Shuker

Neil Shuker

His victim, Brent Croft, was “lucky not to die” in the onslaught on an evening he was out celebrating his birthday in Wigan town centre and Shuker was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

His co-defendant, Bradley Phillips, was also caged for eight years over the nightclub attack.

Shuker and Phillips were drinking at the Revolution nightclub in King Street on October 6 2012, Mr Justice Coulson told London’s Appeal Court.

An altercation started with the victim who was out celebrating his birthday with family and friends. Phillips landed the first punch before Shuker hit Mr Croft so hard he fell to the floor unconscious, said the judge.

The simple fact is that, but for prompt and extensive medical treatment, Shuker would be serving a considerable prison sentence for murder or manslaughter

Mr Justice Coulson

Shuker then kicked him in the head before leaving and Phillips also landed a kick.

Mr Justice Coulson said the victim’s injuries were “extremely serious” and he was “lucky not to die”. He stopped breathing while being taken to hospital - his family was informed that he might not survive - and he was put in a medically-induced coma.

Mr Croft was left with swelling to his brain, bruising to both eyes, swelling of the face, a broken nose, facial fractures and a broken upper jaw.

The court heard he had numerous operations over a two-year rehabilitation period, involving over 30 hospital visits.

This included inserting metal facial plates, wiring of his jaw and surgery to his nose.

He was unable to work for four months and suffered severe pain and dizziness.

Treatment to his eyes and nose continues and he has visible scarring and disfigurement, is uncomfortable in busy, public spaces and relives the attack on a daily basis.

“The simple fact is that, but for prompt and extensive medical treatment, Shuker would be serving a considerable prison sentence for murder or manslaughter,” said Mr Justice Coulson.

Shuker’s lawyers argued his punishment was over the top and did not take his remorse, lack of pre-meditation and previous good character into account.

But Mr Justice Coulson, sitting with Lady Justice Macur and Judge Peter Collier QC, said: “The eight-year term cannot now possibly be criticised. It was not wrong in principle or manifestly excessive. For those reasons this appeal is refused.”

Shuker’s fiancee Kim Winstanley had backed the appeal, telling the Wigan Evening Post that CCTV footage obtained by the family and not used in the trial suggested he played a less serious part. The film was passed to the High Court.