Lifetime jail threat for attacker who left Blackburn man in a coma
12:00pm Tuesday 20th August 2013 in News
A MAN who accused a group of vandalising his home was attacked to such an extent that he is still in a coma six months later.
Derek Wildeman, 41, from Blackburn, suffered multiple fractures to the head and face and needed complex surgery.
His prognosis is poor, Preston Crown Court heard. He is undergoing an assessment to determine if he is in a persistent vegetative state or a minimally conscious one.
One of two brothers awaiting sentence over the violent episode has been told by a judge that she is considering passing a possible life sentence in his case.
Steven Quigley, 30, of Rothesay Road, Blackburn, had pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent, over the events in the early hours of February 24 this year.
His brother Gary Quigley, 43, of Hancock Street, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm.
Preston Crown Court was told that according to a recent medical report, Mr Wildeman is in a stable condition, but remains in a coma at a rehabilitation centre in Burnley.
His mother was at court to hear details of her victim personal statement, in which she told how her son could not eat, drink, speak or do anything for himself now and will need 24-hour care.
“I can’t come to terms with what has happened to him. I am at the hospital every day and have been since he was admitted. My only concern is my son. What does the future hold?"
The court heard three people had been passing by Mr Wildeman’s home in Coleridge Street, Blackburn, when he accused them of setting fire to net curtains behind his broken front living room window.
He ended up chasing them and making a threat.
Jeremy Grout-Smith, prosecuting, said one of the youths knew Stephen Quigley.
The defendant said he would go round and 'smash his head in', the court heard. He told his brother Gary he had to go because he needed someone to tell him when to stop, in case he went too far.
Stephen Quigley climbed into the living room by tearing away the boarded up window.
A neighbour saw a man standing over Mr Wildman, who was on the floor, hitting him with of force, using an object.
There were at least four or five blows to the upper body or head, followed by forceful kicks to the middle of the body.
At the time of the attack, Stephen Quigley had only recently been released from custody, after being on remand for assault.
His barrister, Mark Stuart, said: “I accept this was a very bad attack on a man who was in his own home.”
Both men were further remanded in custody. A new sentencing date is expected to be fixed on September 13.