Family’s anger as Calvin Mclellan attacker sentenced to three years

Calvin Mclellan.
Calvin Mclellan.

A teenager who left a man fighting for his life after a drunken one-punch attack has been jailed.

The family of a man who was left fighting for his life after a drunken one-punch assault have hit out at the three-year sentence handed to his attacker.

Connor Jary, 18, of Moreland Road, South Shields, was yesterday jailed for three years after admitting the attack on Calvin Mclellan, which has left him in a seven-month coma.

Newcastle Crown Court heard he carried out the attack while he was on bail – with two others – for an earlier violent incident.

Mandy Douglas, Calvin’s older sister, said: “That thug has destroyed our family and taken Calvin’s life as he knew it.

“In less than three years time he will be back out to live his life but, for all we know, our Calvin may well still be lying in hospital.

“No sentence was ever going to be equal to the pain he’s caused, but three years? I’m heartbroken and so are his brothers and our mam.”

She added: “I hope he realises that he’s robbed a mother of a son, siblings of their brother, and two little girls of their father.

“He hasn’t just ruined Calvin’s life he’s ruined all our lives.”

The court heard Jary hit Mr Mclellan – who had been walking with a friend along Mile End Road, South Shields – square in the face, on August 7 last year.

The attack resulted in Mr Mclellan hitting his head on the ground. Seven months on, he is still in a coma.
Christopher Wood, prosecuting, said Jary had been drinking all day in the run- up to the attack.

He said: “By 4am he was with a friend outside Abra Pizza, in South Shields, when Mr Mclellan walked past with a friend.

“There was an exchange of words between Mr Mclellan and the defendant before Mr Mclellan and his friend walked away.
“Jary and a friend followed the pair down the road before Jary and Mr Mclellan squared up to each other.”

The court heard Jary punched Mr Mclellan in the face, resulting in him falling and hitting his head.
The attack left Mr Mclellan, 30, fighting for his life before undergoing brain surgery.

He is still in a coma and doctors have warned that if he ever recovers, he will have to learn how to walk again.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Mclellan’s mother said: “Since this date my world has fallen apart. I am a broken woman and have a broken family

“If he does wake up, I am told that he will never be the same Calvin that he was. Not only has this ruined my son’s life but it has ruined his daughters’ life too.”

Vic Laffey, defending said: “This is the first time he has appeared before a court for anything. Before this he was of good character and had a job. He feels genuine remorse for what he has done.

“He comes from a decent family and they have constantly enquired about the victim’s health.”

The court herd Jary carried out the attack while on bail –- along with two other defendants – for a separate violent incident nine months earlier.

The court heard that offence took place in November 2015, when Jary – along with co-accused, Leon Steele and Tre Wilson, both 18 – were involved in an altercation outside a house party.

The three defendants were walking past the house in South Shields when words were exchanged with the two men who were waiting for a taxi.

The court heard violence flared, which resulted in the two victims receiving hospital treatment.

John Wilkinson, defending Steele, of Sloane Gardens, said: “He is of good character, when faced with the CCTV, his reaction was to look away. He is disgusted by how he behaved that night.”

David Comb, defending Wilson, of Wenlock Road, South Shields, said: “He was trying to make the peace and prevent any escalation to what happened.

“His whole family are desperate to move on.”

All three men were 17 at the time of the first offence but have turned 18 since.

Judge Sophie Drake said: “You all behaved like complete thugs that night. It must have been extremely frightening for them. You should be thoroughly ashamed of what you did that night.”

Steele, who pleaded guilty to GBH, was jailed for 16 months and Wilson, who admitted affray, was given 100 hours unpaid work.

Sentencing Jary – who pleaded to two counts of GBH, separately – she said: “That one punch caused Mr Mclellan a catastrophic injury.

“His prognosis is not good, it is highly improbably that he will be able to speak again.

“You so easily could have killed him with that one punch. You have put him in such a state that he effectively has no life.”

Jary was jailed for 12 months for the first offence and two years for the attack on Mr Mclellan – a total of three years.

A FAMILY’S HEARTBREAK

“He’s destroyed our family and given our Calvin a life sentence – but he gets just three years?.”

That was the reaction of Mandy Douglas, Calvin’s heartbroken older sister.

A punch to the head, outside the taxi rank in Mile End Road, South Shields, last year was all it took for 30-year-old Calvin’s life to be ruined forever.

Now his loved ones are having to come to terms with the knowledge that the fun-loving father of Scarlett, 10, and Masie-Sue, five, who remains at Sunderland Royal Hospital, may never recover.

Mandy, 39, said: “Calvin’s body lies in a hospital bed, but he’s not there. He’s gone.

“He’s classed as being in a sleep coma. It’s like a vegetative state, he opens his eyes, he might move an arm a little bit, but that’s all he can do.

“He can’t walk, talk, feed, or clean himself.

“Our mam visits him every day and cares for him. He’s just left lying there. We have no idea if he even hears us.

Calvin, who lives with his mam Susan, near South Shields town centre, has already underwent two operations to help aid his recovery progress and is now receiving Botox injections to help strengthen his muscles.

While his prognosis is currently unclear, it’s hoped one day that he will be released from hospital and able to receive specialist rehabilitation care.

In a bid to help with the costs a sponsored dip was held at South Shields seafront last month and Miss Douglas says the family are organising future events.

She said: “The support we’ve been receiving has been amazing, sponsorship is still coming in from the dip.

“We’ve got a few more events lined up as well. Calvin will need a lot of care when, and hopefully if, he’s well enough to leave hospital and this will help with these costs.

“But at the moment it’s just heartbreaking, everyone who knows Calvin, and knew the energetic funny character he was, knows this is no quality of life for him.

“He’s not living lying there, he’s just existing.”