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Saturday 25 March 2017

'One punch can kill, but what happens when it doesn't?' - Woman tells of devastation at brother's life-changing injuries

(Stock image)
(Stock image)

Sarah-Jane Murphy

The sister of a one-punch attack victim has told of the devastating effect the incident had on her brother and her family.

Brian Hogan (38), from Ballykeefe in Limerick, who was living and working in England, was out socialising on 19 July 2009 when he was punched by another man in an unprovoked attack.

"At first his attacker said he wasn't guilty but prior to the court case he admitted it was unprovoked and changed his plea to guilty," Nevis told RTE Radio One's Liveline.

"He was given a sentence of two years and three months but he only served a year," she said.

Nevis explained that neurological consultants told the Hogan family that they must wait two years from the date the brain injury was acquired before they can ascertain what quality of life the victim will have.

Read More: 'One punch can kill' - Family of man (23) left with jaw broken after unprovoked punch says more is needed to discourage such attacks

Brian has been left blind, disabled on the left hand-side of his body and wheelchair dependent as a result of the attack.

Nevis appealed to people planning to indulge in "drink fuelled" nights out over the Christmas period to remember how easily a punch can change someone's life forever.

"When someone raises their fist to hit someone they intend to do damage," she said.

She recalled that Brian firstly underwent six months of rehabilitation in Nottingham, with his family travelling over and back every week and each weekend.

Read More: 'We just want these guys caught' - Family of man (23) left with jaw broken after unprovoked punch

"Finally we brought him home, initially to a nursing home because our parent's house wasn't adapted for someone with his needs.

"It's frightening - one minute you have a healthy son and brother and then all of a sudden he's disabled," she said.

Nevis said that the family have been very fortunate in that they have received excellent support from Brain Injury Ireland.

"They're fantastic, they have assisted living homes so he goes between there and my parents' house.

"He can tell us what he's thinking, what he's feeling, he's well able to express himself so in that respect it's really good," Sandra said.

Brian's story was part of a police campaign in Nottingham entitled 'Alliance against Violence'.

"Their lead caption was 'One punch can kill but what happens when it doesn't?'

"Students from Tralee had made a vimeo of Brian and it was shown in city centre locations in the run up to Christmas in 2013.

"You see a healthy young man and then see what his life is like after the attack - they're poles apart," Nevis said.

"We need a similar campaign here," host Joe Duffy said.

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