Jailed: Man, 19, left boy fighting for his life by kneeling on his head and fracturing his skull
A teenager who left another boy fighting for his life by kneeling on his head and fracturing his skull has been jailed.
Benjamin Evans, 19, applied pressure with his knee to the head of his victim, two years his junior, in an Oswestry churchyard after knocking him to the ground.
It fractured the younger boy's skull and led to a build-up of blood on the brain and he could have died had he not been rushed to hospital for brain surgery. His mother told a court that at the time she didn't know if her son would survive or not.
Evans carried out the life-changing attack after suspecting his victim or someone he knew of shooting an airgun at him, Shrewsbury Crown Court was told.
He was jailed for 16 months on Friday after a judge heard about the victim's "catastrophic" brain damage and the long-term effects, which include memory loss and emotional issues to this day.
Prosecutor David Iles told the court that Evans and the younger boy knew each other from school and had a "cordial" relationship until the events of August 2018.
Evans suspected him of shooting an airgun or being with others who did, Mr Iles said. The two met in the yard of St Oswald's Church on August 24.
"The defendant, when he saw [the victim], went up to him and punched him," Mr Iles said.
He continued punching him with "quite some force" to the head and body once he was on the ground then applied "very substantial force" to the left side of his head with his knee, the court heard.
The assault went on for two to three minutes before they separated and the victim initially felt "all right", Mr Iles said.
But he soon started complaining of headaches and sickness and was taken to Oswestry Health Centre, where his eyes were examined.
"The nurse there realised immediately this was a serious matter and an ambulance was summoned and took him to Wrexham Maelor Hospital," Mr Iles said.
He was then rushed to Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool for "lifesaving" surgery.
"Had Alder Hey not operated on his head to relieve the pressure built up by blood on the brain he may well have died."
He was unconscious for a number of days after the surgery.
Evans, of Erw Wen in Morda, handed himself in to police and admitted causing grievous bodily harm earlier this year.
At Friday's hearing the victim's mother spoke briefly to the court and showed pictures of her son unconscious in hospital to Judge Peter Barrie.
She said: "I was devastated. I didn't know if my son was going to live or die.
"He suffers a lot with memory loss, he's got emotional problems."
Andrew Green, representing Evans, said: "He has said to the probation officer in terms that he is truly sorry and truly ashamed for what he has done.
"Not a day goes by when he doesn't think about it."
He cited Evans' youth and his genuine remorse as mitigating factors.
Judge Barrie told Evans: "I have to deal with you for an incident which you caused and which resulted in catastrophic injuries to [the victim] which will affect him in one way or another throughout his life.
"I think you yourself have been genuinely shaken on learning the consequences of your behaviour on [the victim]."
He sentenced Evans to 16 months in a young offenders' institute, though time will be taken off for days he spent on curfew.
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