A cowardly attacker who brutally assaulted a rough sleeper in Manchester leaving him now unable to walk or feed himself was jailed for more than 12 years today.
Anthony John Ellis even had the audacity to pretend to be a Good Samaritan by calling for an ambulance after his horrific attack.
He repeatedly hit the victim with a random object, thought to be a branch from a tree, even continuing as his victim lay on the floor unconscious.
Ellis, 24, of Hatchley Street, Chorlton-on-Medlock, attacked the Estonian national in Whitworth Park at approximately 6.30pm on September 11, 2012.
The victim, Igor Pavlov, 41, suffered multiple life-threatening injuries to his skull and brain and is now totally dependent on others for help – unable to walk or eat.
Judge Michael Henshell, sentencing Ellis at Manchester Crown Court today, said: “The offence was a quite dreadful assault.
“You may not have taken his life, but it effectively ended when you attacked him last year.”
Ellis had been visiting his grandmother at the nearby Royal Infirmary Hospital, but stormed out after a disagreement with his family, with his mother telling him to calm his temper and behave.
He then crossed Oxford Street into the park, where he came across Mr Pavlov who was sat alone on a bench after drinking all day with his friends.
Ellis claimed the man threw a plastic bottle at him, which caused him to unleash a sustained and ferocious attack – leaving a severe wound on the back of Mr Pavlov’s head, fracturing his skull.
The offender then called 999, saying he had come across an injured man in the park before giving directions of the whereabouts of the man to the emergency services.
Initially Ellis was treated as a witness, but suspicions were raised when CCTV footage differed from the official account he had provided.
The judge added: “As a consequence of your attack, he will need around the clock care for the rest of his life. He requires at least two people just to get him out of bed.
“His quality of life is almost nil.”
According to the judge, Mr Pavlov is a likeable man who had fallen on hard times, turning to alcohol to help deal with his tough life on the streets.
The case for the defence acknowledged the seriousness of the attack, but argued that Ellis’ learning difficulties should be taken into consideration.
The 24-year-old attended a school in Cheshire for children with learning difficulties in his youth, and also endured a tough upbringing.
Ellis broke down in tears as his childhood was discussed – as did his family members who were sat in the public gallery.
Robert Hall, Senior Crown Advocate for CPS North West, said: “Ellis tried to cover up his actions by misleading the ambulance service and the police about his whereabouts at the time of the assault.
“However, the police and the CPS have worked hard gathering evidence in a case where the victim could not tell us what happened; there were no eye witnesses, no weapon and no obvious motive.
“As a result, Anthony Ellis was left with little other option but to plead guilty and he must now face up to the consequences of his crime.”
The seriousness of Mr Pavlov’s head injury meant that he had to be heavily sedated while in hospital, and remained in a coma for months.
His injuries are so bad that he is unable to care for himself, and still cannot walk or eat – requiring tubes to be kept alive.
Detective Inspector Rebecca Duggan said: “It is still not clear whether the victim will ever recover from his injuries.
“While Ellis claimed they may have come from a fall, our investigation has established that only a series of repeated blows from a weapon could have caused this wound.
“Only Ellis knows why he carried out such a brutal attack, which could easily have been fatal, on a man who was clearly vulnerable. He fully deserves the punishment he has been given.”