‘Desperate consequences’ of fight over football

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A man who caused “tragic” and life-changing injuries to another man in a fight sparked by a row over rival football teams was warned to expect prison when he appeared at Lerwick Sheriff Court today.

Liam Cromwell, 22, of King Fisher Drive, Inverurie, pleaded guilty to assaulting a man, following him and punching him on the head, causing him to fall and strike his head on the ground. This rendered the victim unconscious and led to his severe injury and permanent impairment.

The offence took place in August last year at Lerwick’s Commecial Street, Esplanade and Burns Walk.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said that this case more than others exemplified the severity of such conduct and its “desperate consequences”.

It started with a disagreement between people concerning football, and insults were exchanged. In the course of this, the victim struck the accused, who did not have the “maturity” to walk away.

He responded with a punch which made the victim stumble. As he was standing on a slope he had further to fall to the ground, which he did with a “significant” degree of force and noise, so much so that people walking in the area turned round.

It was clear the man was seriously injured and the accused knelt down to help. An ambulance was summoned and fortunately came immediately, and the man was taken to the Gilbert Bain Hospital where life-saving surgery, only used in the most extreme cases, was undertaken.

The man was then flown to Aberdeen, where he remains. He is only able to walk a short distance from his hospital bed, has difficulty talking and now has epilepsy. It is hoped he will return home, but will need care for the rest of his life.
Sheriff Philip Mann said it was a very serious and tragic case, which highlighted the “stupidity” of violence.

He asked for reports and adjourned sentencing until 18th September.

Cromwell, who has been on bail with the special condition that he does not come to Shetland, had bail continued, with the special condition removed.