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Brain-damaged Weymouth dad feels lucky to be alive
A FATHER-OF-TWO says he is lucky to be alive after an assault in a Weymouth pub left him permanently brain damaged.
Scott Tolman spoke out about his ordeal after his attacker Kenneth Vowles was jailed for two years at Dorchester Crown Court.
The 34-year-old father-of-two said: “I’m trying to be positive about it all – I feel lucky to be here because I could be dead.
He added: “The prison sentence is a relief really, he’s where he belongs.
“I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, it could have happened to anyone.”
The attack happened four years to the day after the funeral of Mr Tolman’s father Shaun, who died of cancer.
Mr Tolman, of Everest Road, Weymouth, is trying to rebuild his life after spending two months in hospital.
He said: “My life has been ruined, I’ve had to re-learn how to talk, they’ve taken my driver’s licence away and everything.
“My short-term memory is gone completely, it affects me every day.”
Mr Tolman has two children from a previous marriage whom he is now unable to see without supervision.
He said: “It’s had a knock-on effect on my whole family, I can’t see my kids now without someone else there and my mum has to look after me every day.
“I’m a fully qualified welder but I’ve been signed off work for 12 months.
“I was in court for the sentencing and when they described my head making a crack on the floor it made me feel sick.
“People like him shouldn’t be allowed on the streets.”
Eileen, Scott’s mum said the assault was horrific and had deeply affected their lives.
She said: “It’s been devastating, there’s nothing left of Scott’s life now.
“This is every parent’s worst nightmare, what this man has done to my son is horrific.
“The biggest shock to me he’s a man of 50 years, it’s not like he’s some youngster who hasn’t learnt to control his drink yet.
“He’s the same age as my late husband, it’s lucky Shaun’s not still here to see this because I don’t know what he would have done.”
She added: “I’m glad this man won’t be on the streets anymore, he’s scum and thinking of him walking free makes me feel sick.
“It’s been a long road, when Scott had the epileptic attack I thought it was the end.
“I have to think positively because he could so easily be dead. Although things are bad they could have been worse.”
Pub thug sent to jail for two years Kenneth Vowles, of Brisbane Road, Weymouth was sentenced to two years in prison when he appeared before Dorchester Crown Court.
The 50-year-old previously pleaded guilty to assault occasioning grievous bodily harm.
Carolyn Brandford-Wood, prosecuting, told the court that the assault happened at the Somerset Hotel in Weymouth on the evening of Sunday, December 18 last year.
In a witness statement landlady Hazel Thomas said Vowles, pctured below, punched Mr Tolman in the face while they were inside, then followed him out onto the street where he hit him again.
She said: “Vowles punched Scott to the head and I heard a cracking noise when his head hit the road. He was not moving and appeared unconscious, there was bleeding from the back of his head.”
Mr Tolman suffered from frontal brain bruising, blood on the brain and a large skull fracture with potentially life-threatening complications, said Miss Brandford-Wood.
In mitigation, Nigel Mitchell said Vowles had alcohol problems and that Christmas was a hard time of year for him because of an incident in 1982 while serving his country in Ireland.
He told the court: “The defendant is not a violent man and only has two previous convictions for violent offences from 20 years ago. He had been drinking to excess and doesn’t remember what happened, he can’t understand why he did it.
“The injuries all come as a result of one punch.”
Judge Roger Jarvis told the defendant: “You are a man who served his country and had to suffer trauma but it was a number of years ago and should have faded by now. There were tragic consequences for Mr Tolman from that blow and in a case in London a victim died from a single punch.
“That defendant had to answer to a charge of manslaughter, you are lucky this is not the case today.”