Clubber locked up after single blow caused fractured skull

By Marion Brennan | Walsall | Crime | Published:

A man who seriously injured a fellow clubber with a single punch whilst fuelled by alcohol and cocaine has been locked up.

Wolverhampton Crown Court

Riley Chapman, described as 'of exemplary character', assaulted his victim in the street after a night out in Walsall town centre, a court heard.

The 20-year-old approached the victim, who was about to get into a taxi, and struck him in the face so hard he fell backwards, hitting his head on the pavement.

Mr John O'Higgins, prosecuting, said the pair had previously been in Bar Sport where there had been 'pushing and shoving' between two groups of youths although there was no suggestion that Chapman was involved.

The victim was taken to Walsall Manor Hospital where doctors found three fractures to his skull and a bleed on the brain. He was allowed home after a week but continued to suffer repercussions from the attack.

Wolverhampton Crown Court heard that he lost his sense of smell and taste, affecting his job at Travelodge where he carried out cooking duties as well as working on reception.

It meant he could no longer work in the kitchen and that his hours were reduced. He was also easily exhausted and had became depressed.

In a victim impact statement read to the court he told how the financial burden and lack of future prospects had put a strain on his marriage.

Chapman, of Thames Road, Blakenall, pleaded guilty to wounding and possession of crack cocaine.


The court heard that he had walked away immediately after delivering the blow but had been followed by two other people and attacked.

Defending him, Mr Oliver Woolhouse said Chapman had not intended to cause serious harm and had expressed remorse for his actions. The judge was given several glowing references confirming his good character.

Following the assault in the early hours of September 2 last year, he had voluntarily sought help from the Beacon Recovery Service in Walsall, which helps people with drug and alcohol problems.

Mr Woolhouse said: "It was a single blow, with no follow-up violence. It was an isolated incident caused by a combination of cocaine and consuming too much alcohol. It was an aberration, one which will not be repeated."

But sentencing him to 10 months detention, Judge James Burbidge, QC, said members of the public had to feel safe from attack when they were out at night.

He told Chapman: "You are a man of otherwise exemplary character who took leave of his senses after taking cocaine and drink. It is a great sadness you are before the court."

Marion Brennan

By Marion Brennan

News and features reporter, specialising in human interest and local history stories.


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