Victim of ‘vicious’ Newport assault left with acquired brain injury
A Ballintubber student who was left with an acquired brain injury after an unprovoked attack in Newport in 2018 has told a court how his ‘future ended’ that night, and how he will never forgive his attacker.
Twenty-six-year-old Kevin Staunton was working as a night porter in Hotel Newport on July 8, 2018. In the early hours of the morning, he was showing a patron, Frank Long of Barrack Hill, Newport, to the door when Long suddenly attacked Mr Staunton, wrestled him to the ground and hit him repeatedly.
The attack only stopped when a friend of Long’s came on the scene and dragged Long away.
In CCTV footage played at Castlebar Circuit Criminal Court on Friday last, Mr Staunton appeared to lose consciousness after the attack.
As a consequence of the assault, Mr Staunton was left with an acquired brain injury. He suffers from ‘major’ short-term memory loss, issues with concentration and sleep disturbance, and he continues to need anti-depressant medication.
He was working in Hotel Newport to fund the final year of a degree in computer software development at the University of Limerick.
In September 2018, he attempted to start his final year of studies in the four-year degree, but he was forced to abandon his studies due to short-term memory issues and an inability to concentrate. He is ‘uncertain’ if he will ever be able to complete his studies.
Sentencing Frank Long to four-and-a-half years in prison, Judge Rory McCabe described the incident as ‘a mean, nasty, vicious attack on a much smaller and, consequently, vulnerable young man’.
‘My life has been devastated’
In his victim-impact statement, Kevin Staunton, described how he was working as a night porter in the hotel in the early hours of July 8, 2018, when he was attacked.
“As I was doing my job, I was seriously assaulted as I escorted my attacker towards the door of the hotel. I was dragged to the floor and repeatedly punched in the head. The pain was tremendous. I was terrified, believing the ordeal would not end until I was dead. I firmly believe my attacker had no intention of stopping the assault until he was restrained by a fellow friend,” said Mr Staunton.
“Since the assault, my life has been devastated. The assault has left me unable to sleep without the use of medication. I have nightmares, reliving the ordeal of being left on the floor of the hotel, fading in and out of consciousness, believing I am about to die. It is a horror no words can describe. The assault has left me with regularly occurring headaches, memory loss, anxiety, neck pain, fatigue and depression. There are days I frequently struggle to get out of bed and face the day.
“I have a constant fear and anxiety leaving the house and when socialising … My anxiety makes it impossible for me to be in a crowded area. This causes my social life to be almost non-existent, making it very difficult to socialise with my friends. This isolation is a significant factor towards my depression,” he said.
Mr Staunton told the court that he returned to the University of Limerick in September 2018 to start his final year in college, but he had to abandon his course due to his short-term memory being impaired and an inability to concentrate. He said he is ‘uncertain’ whether he will ever be able to complete his course and follow his chosen career path.
“It is tremendously upsetting to be planning to pursue a career only to have that ambition taken away from me by an individual who showed total disregard for human life that night. My future ended that night due to the unprovoked actions of an individual who I will never forgive.
“I think only for the continued support and financial backing of my parents, I would be left in a situation unable to acquire proper medical care and support.
“This attack has had a devastating effect on my parents too, causing constant anxiety, upset, concern and financial pressure.
“I now have nothing to look forward to career wise and my future remains very uncertain.”
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