Thug who punched man so hard in Chesterfield town centre he had to be placed in a coma is jailed

A thug who was involved in an altercation with another man in Chesterfield town centre ended-up punching him so hard he had to be placed into an induced coma and faces life-changing injuries.

Derby Crown Court heard today, Thursday, May 9, how Paul Holmes, 47, of Chepstow Close, Grangewood, Chesterfield, had crossed paths with 62-year-old Graham Sage, at the Beach Bar, Chesterfield, after the defendant had allegedly been looking at the complainant’s sister-in-law.

Paul Holmes.

Paul Holmes.

Prosecuting barrister Mark Achurch said Mr Sage has been celebrating a friend’s 40th birthday with friends and family.

He added: “There was a male, the defendant, who was watching the complainant’s sister-in-law and generally hanging around and there was an altercation in the Beach Bar but nothing of importance.”

However, once they left there was a further altercation outside the bar and there was some verbal altercation from the complainant’s brother and punches were exchanged between the defendant and the complainant before they were separated, according to Mr Achurch.

Mr Achurch said: “There was a reprisal of the incident with the defendant following the complainant and a female member of the complainant’s group, a tall lady, tried to put herself between them.”

The defendant subsequently punched the complainant around the female so hard Mr Sage was knocked to the ground and witnesses said he fell like a “rag doll” and was described as “bouncing off the floor”.

Mr Sage was bleeding from his nose and ears, according to Mr Achurch, and he appeared to have been knocked unconscious and he had to be hospitalised with multiple fractures to the skull and a brain injury.

The court heard that Mr Sage has suffered potentially life-changing injuries and had to be placed into an induced coma and still needs further surgery.

His wife Michelle Sage stated how she has been left devastated and fears her husband, a father-of-two, will be so badly affected psychologically that he will not be the same man.

She added that she has suffered nightmares and wants to break down and cry after what happened.

Holmes, who has previous convictions, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning grievous bodily harm after the incident on January 12 on Stephenson Place, Chesterfield.

Defence barrister Jessica Strange said father-of-three Holmes has been genuinely remorseful for what happened and he has described his behaviour as “disgusting” and he has made no attempt to excuse his actions.

Judge Shaun Smith, who sentenced Holmes to 18 months of custody, told him: “I am satisfied there was equal violence on both sides but it did not end there.

“The victim’s brother became involved with you verbally and in an aggressive fashion and there were further attempts to get at you by him.

“The victim appears to have got involved again. A woman steps in to try and stop him getting at you.

“If you had stopped there and let her stop him from getting you, you would not be sat there facing the sentence you face.

“But you leaned around her and hit him to the side of the head and the result of that blow was to cause him an almost immediate loss of consciousness and witnesses saw him as a rag doll and he fell and he banged his head on a pavement.

“Mr Sage did not die but the injuries he received have been catastrophic.”