A one punch attacker who left a man paralysed and with serious brain injuries is back behind bars after West Midlands Police pursued a manslaughter case when the victim died 17 years later.
The force’s homicide team were able to prove the assault by Paul Proctor in Erdington contributed to the death of Mark Wilkie in autumn 2017.
Mr Wilkie was left disabled and reliant on 24 hour care after being punched in his face by Proctor on 6 August 2000.
It followed a disagreement over ordering a taxi for two women after leaving a pub in Kingsbury Road. The men had not been socialising together and witnesses said the force of the punch lifted Mr Wilkie off the floor.
Proctor initially said he found Mr Wilkie on the ground and then claimed he responded to fears of being hit in the face with a glass.
(Mark Wilkie - before his attack)
He was convicted of wounding at Wolverhampton Crown Court in 2002 and sentenced to 18 months in jail.
Mr Wilkie - who also needed a ventilator to breathe - was admitted to hospital with pneumonia in September 2017 and died less than a week later aged 44.
(Mark Wilkie - after his attack)
Officers organised for a post mortem which gave the cause of death as pneumonia with his existing injuries also a factor.
They then set about building up enough evidence while supporting Mr Wilkie’s family to seek a conviction for manslaughter.
A charge was authorised by the Crown Prosecution Service and Proctor pleaded guilty at a court hearing earlier this summer.
The 47-year-old, of Priestland Road, Shard End, was jailed for two years and ten months at Birmingham Crown Court today (3 October).
Mark’s sister Claire said: "The events of that evening in 2000 tore our family apart and left us all devastated.
"I had been with him earlier in the day of the attack and just couldn’t believe what happened only hours later.
"He was a lovely, happy chap who loved playing sport but was left with years of pain, misery and being unable to do anything himself.
"We will never get over the impact of that night and the loss of Mark, but we’re grateful to West Midlands Police for all they have done to get some justice."
Detective Inspector Jim Colclough, from the force’s homicide team, said: "Mr Wilkie was left severely disabled as a result of the attack almost 20 years ago.
"He lost his independence and had a much reduced quality of life until his sad death in 2017.
"Once it was established those injuries contributed to his death we set about securing evidence to prosecute Proctor again.
"He has accepted his responsibility for the death of Mr Wilkie with his plea. This just shows that the passing of years is no barrier to us and we will always seek justice for families."
Images: Source; West Midlands Police