Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Victim of One-Punch Attack Still in a Coma; FAMILY PRAY FOR STEVE TO WAKE UP A YEAR AFTER CITY ATTACK

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Victim of One-Punch Attack Still in a Coma; FAMILY PRAY FOR STEVE TO WAKE UP A YEAR AFTER CITY ATTACK

Article excerpt

Byline: LISA HUTCHINSON Reporter lisa.hutchinson@ncjmedia.co.uk @lisachron

A YEAR after being floored in an unprovoked one-punch attack, Stephen Willey is still lying in a hospital bed in a coma.

His family have spent the entire 2016 waiting for him to wake up after he was attacked in Newcastle on December 23, 2015.

It has been a nightmare 12 months for Stephen's wife Paula, parents Linda and David and his two brothers Chris and Neil.

Now, they "hope and pray" he will come out of his comatosed state to see 2017. But Linda says they are strong and are helping each other as they wish for a miracle.

"We are a good, strong family and we hope and pray he will pull through," said Linda, at the family home in Usworth, Washington.

Their ordeal happened after devoted Stephen went into Newcastle two days before Christmas last year to meet his wife, childhood sweetheart Paula, after she had been out for a festive meal with work colleagues. The couple were standing at a bus stop when they had the misfortune to cross paths with thug Nicholas Graham, who was angry following a row with his ex.

Graham, described by one witness was like a "raging bull", barged into Stephen for no reason then swung a ferocious punch which knocked him to the ground, fracturing his skull and causing serious brain injuries.

Nissan worker Stephen, 47, hasn't woken since and his prognosis remains uncertain.

At Newcastle Crown Court in May, as Graham was jailed for three-anda-half years, Paula told of the devastating consequences of the attack in a statement read to the court.

She said they were waiting for their bus on New Bridge Street on December 23 just after 8pm when they became aware of Graham. Paula said: "The look on his face and what happened next will haunt me for the rest of my life. He pushed me out of the way and the next thing I saw was Stephen falling flat to the ground, then I heard the horrific crack when his head hit the pavement."

Paula spoke of seeing her husband badly injured after the attack as he fought for his life in hospital.

She said: "This was absolutely soul destroying to see my healthy, fit husband who cycles around five times a week, regularly doing 100 miles on a Sunday, lying unconscious, fighting for his life through no fault of his own. …

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