‘Life sentence’ for attack victim

Reece Roberts at the Royal Preston Hospital with his mum Millissa Roberts
Reece Roberts at the Royal Preston Hospital with his mum Millissa Roberts
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It was a single punch, which shattered a life forever.

A heartbroken mum today told how the devastating injuries her son received in an unprovoked attack outside a Blackpool bar have handed him a “life sentence”.

Thomas Field, 26, has pleaded guilty to assaulting Reece Roberts outside Bar 19, on Queen Street, before Preston Crown Court. Today he is in custody, awaiting sentence for his crime.

Mr Roberts was standing by himself following a night out in Blackpool on September 27 when he was attacked.

The force of the punch 
resulted in the Blackpool and The Fylde College student hitting his head on the pavement and caused a build-up of blood on his brain.

Mr Roberts has been in Royal Preston Hospital’s 
Neuro Rehab Unit for almost six months and was operated on yesterday to put metal plates in his head.

Mum Milissa Roberts, 42, of Lakeway, Layton, said: “Reece has got a life sentence and I don’t want his (Field’s) sentence to be reduced because he has pleaded guilty.

“He has changed our lives forever and my Reece will never be the same again.

“I’m not happy and it doesn’t matter what he gets because I’m heartbroken for Reece and it is driving me 

“I can’t even imagine how Reece feels and no matter what sentence he gets, it won’t be enough as far as I’m concerned.

“No sentence he gets will mean anything to me.

“I won’t go to court to see him because it would make me ill and if I ever saw him it would hurt me.

“If I came face to face with him I don’t know if I would end up having a breakdown.

“It’s horrible to see your own child like that and he will never be in the bed Reece is in.”

The 25-year-old had his operation yesterday to put metal plates in his skull and protect his brain from further damage.

Mrs Roberts added: “I will have to see how Reece is before I tell him about this.

“I don’t want to come out with this because he is poorly enough as it is and he often has no recollection of what has happened to him, and with a severe brain injury he sometimes can’t understand why he is in hospital.

“Fingers crossed we may see signs of improvement (after his operation).

“It’s scary but we are going to deal with whatever we can.”

Det Sgt Simon Pritchard, the officer in charge of the case, said he was shocked to see the extent of the injuries caused by a single punch.

He said: “It’s a bonus for the family (Field pleading guilty).

“From the prosecution point it would’ve taken its course, but this is more for the family because they don’t have to go through a trial not knowing if he will be found guilty.

“He (Field) initially said ‘no comment’ to everything in his interview.

“He has had to put the family through this while they were concentrating their energy on Reece getting better, and they didn’t know if it was going to trial.”

Det Sgt Pritchard visited Mr Roberts in hospital and is now focusing on supporting the family following the guilty plea.

He added: “It was horrific to see Reece.

“Knowing what he has gone through on that intensive care unit wouldn’t be nice for 
anyone and the injuries he sustained were horrific.

“I was very shocked to see his injuries.

“It’s very sad to think it was a one punch assault that has caused these injuries because they are life changing.”

Field was remanded in custody by the court. He will 
return to be sentenced on April 2.