A 30-year-old has apologised to a man who sustained a serious brain injury in a one punch attack.
Teddy Roulston wept in court as a letter he wrote to his victim, Peter Morrison, and his family was read out in Derry Crown Court.
In the letter Roulston said ‘If I could take his place I would. It breaks my heart when I think of what his family must be feeling and I wish I could change what happened’.
Roulston, of Bloomfield Park, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to Mr Morrison on June 11, last year.
Thirty-eight years-old Mr Morrison sustained a serious brain injury after he was punched by the 30-year-old and his head hit the ground.
He sustained a fractured skull, bleeding and bruising to the brain and suffered a severe stroke.
Mr Morrison is in a wheelchair and requires help with his personal care. This will ‘persist into the rest of his life’ and the incident has had ‘very tragic consequences’ for Mr Morrison.
Derry Crown Court heard that Roulston and Mr Morrison had been drinking together in a bar in Waterloo Street. They left the bar and there was an ‘animated’ conversation between them.
The 30-year-old then hit Mr Morrison once and he fell to the ground. Eye witnesses reported ‘hearing a crack’ at this point.
During police interview, 30-year-old Roulston said he had very little memory of the incident and said ‘I can’t believe I did that’.
A defence barrister read out the letter written by his client apologising to the victim.
In it, Roulston said ‘I’m not a bad person but I have to take responsibility for what I have caused to him and his family and face the consequences’.
He also said he will ‘never lift a finger to anyone’ in the future and said he prays for the injured party and his family every night.
Roulston also wrote that his behaviour on this night ‘sickens me’.
A defence barrister said these sentiments ‘don’t lessen the terrible impact on the family’ but it was a clear indication of the 30-year-old’s ‘genuine remorse’.
He told the court Roulston has been ‘proactive’ in making changes to his life to ‘ensure this doesn’t happen again’.
Adjourning sentencing until next week, Judge Philip Babington said his thoughts were with the victim’s family.
He asked for a copy of Roulston’s letter to be sent to Mr Morrison and his family.
Roulston was released on continuing bail to appear in court again on June 30.