Punch left Doncaster racegoer in a coma, court told


A drinker knocked a racegoer unconscious in a Doncaster town centre bar with one punch, leaving him in a coma.

Victim Anthony Donovan had to be put into an induced coma at hospital but made a good recovery.

The judge Recorder Ray Singh told attacker Ricky Mills that ‘single punch’ assaults often led to fatalities and he was ‘fortunate’ not to have been facing a manslaughter charge.

He said: “Mr Donovan was simply going about his own business.

“He certainly wasn’t being aggressive. It is only through good fortune that the injury was not more serious.”

Mr Donovan, aged 50, had been to Doncaster races with friends and was out socialising with them afterwards in Doncaster town centre.

“He continued drinking and at the time was very drunk and the worse for drink,” said Brian Outhwaite, prosecuting.

He was in the Relish bar and restaurant about 9.15pm which was very busy and stood next to 24-year-old Mills.

“There was a discussion before Mills punched him with some force in the eye area rendering him unconscious on the floor,” said the prosecutor.

“He was not in a position to defend himself and received an unexpected punch in the face.”

Mr Donovan was still unconscious when paramedics attended and was left with an injured eye and bloody nose.

He was taken to Doncaster Royal Infirmary still unconscious but after being put into the coma awoke the next morning.

He only had a minor cut to his eyebrow and scans showed no injuries to his skull.

Mills, who has two previous cautions for battery and assault, was only arrested nearly two months later and then made no comment in police interviews.

Mr Donovan said he now has panic attacks and suffers to breathe in large crowds.

“He stands with his back against the wall because he’s concerned about a further attack,” said Mr Outhwaite.

The victim had to take a week off work and his clothing was damaged.

Mills, who lives with his partner on Durham Road, Wheatley, admitted assault causing actual bodily harm.

Lucy Brown, defending, said he ‘deeply regretted’ the incident on November 28 last year.

Mills was given a 12-month community order with 240 hours of unpaid community work. He was made subject to a curfew and ordered to pay Mr Donovan £1500 compensation.