Mother disappointed with one punch attack sentence

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.
The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

The mother of a man left with ‘very grave and life changing injuries’ after a one punch attack outside a Derry bar has said her son’s attacker ‘did not get long enough.’

Maureen Morrison was speaking after a 30-year-old Teddy Roulston was jailed for two years and four months for the attack on Peter Morrison.

Roulston, of Bloomfield Park, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to 38-year-old Peter Morrison on June 11, 2014.

Passing sentence at Derry Crown Court, Judge Philip Babington described it as ‘a terrible incident.’

The court was told that the injured party received ‘very grave injuries’ after the one punch assault resulted in him striking his head off the ground.

CCTV from that night showed both men drinking together in a bar and ‘they appeared friendly’ but an argument seemed to break out.

At one point Roulston was heard to say ‘you’re not my friend, you’re not my friend you embarrassed me.’

The 30-year-old left the bar and the injured party followed bringing out a bag that the defendant had forgotten.

Roulston then hit the injured party once and the judge said ‘there was no provocation and there was no warning’ for this.

Peter Morrison fell to the ground and witnesses reported hearing ‘a loud crack.’

They also reported hearing Roulston say ‘How do you like that now do you?’

The 30-year-old was confronted by one of the barmen and he said ‘That will f****** sober him up.’

Judge Babington told the court: ‘Peter received very serious injuries. They have been described as a very serious brain injury....At first it was thought he would not survive’.

He added Mr Morrison ‘has and will always have very significant disability. He will require care and assistance for the rest of his life’.

Judge Babington said the court’s thoughts were with the Morrison family.

Roulston has ten previous convictions, including one for grievous bodily harm in 2002.

Judge Babington said that while the defendant had not been assessed as posing a ‘significant risk’ of harm, police and probation have ‘concerns regarding his propensity to engage in impulsive and aggressive behaviour when under the influence of alcohol’.

He imposed a determinate sentence of two years and four months, half of which will be spent in custody, and recommended that Roulston participate in an alcohol treatment programme.

Speaking outside the court Maureen Morrison, the victim’s mother, said she was disappointed with the sentence imposed.

She said: ‘I don’t think he got long enough. If he had stayed with Peter until the ambulance came, it would not have been so bad. He just left him to choke on his own blood’.

Mrs Morrison said more than a year on from the assault her 38-year-old son needs permanent care.

‘Peter needs help to go to the toilet, he needs help to get dressed. He was a happy go lucky fella just going out and things like that.

‘Peter is never going to come back. The family go to him every day but he has the mind of a nine-year-old’.