London: A 28-year-old man has been sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to the “horrific” assault of an elderly British Sikh community leader walking home in Manchester.
Manchester Crown Court heard last week that 62-year-old Avtar Singh was walking home from work through the city centre in June when 28-year-old Claudio Campos, who was with his partner at the time, began walking behind him and violently punched him to the head.
Avatar Singh, well-known as a local priest in his neighbourhood, fell into the middle of the road where he stayed unconscious until a passer-by called for an ambulance and he was taken to hospital, where he has since remained receiving treatment for a “life changing” brain injury.
“This was a horrific attack of a much loved family member and community leader which deeply shocked the public,” said Detective Inspector Mark Astbury from Greater Manchester Police’s (GMP) City of Manchester CID.
“I hope the verdict gives Mr Singh’s family some relief that the person who has harmed their husband and father has now faced justice and will be sent to prison. I would like to thank the public for their help with our investigation and our thoughts are very much with Mr Singh, we hope he is able to return home soon,” he said.
As part of its investigation, the police had released a public appeal on social media showing CCTV footage of the attack. Greater Manchester Police said that following intelligence received from the public, Campos was located and taken into custody in September, where he admitted the assault.
“When our dad came to this country over 30 years ago, he never imagined that he would be the subject of such a heinous attack which has left him bed bound and in hospital for as long as he has been,” Avatar Singh’s family said in a statement released via the police.
“As a family, we are truly heartbroken and still struggle to come to terms with the reality of his future and the truth behind this crime. He didn’t do anything to deserve this situation where he has permanently damaged his sight and lost complete mobility down his right side,” the statement said.
The family lamented that they will never get the “strong powerful man” back but welcomed the attacker being brought to justice.
“Avtar Singh is a truly brilliant, gentle and kind human being who has spent his whole life looking after everyone around him. He is a tremendous father, a hardworking husband and the most amazing priest who has served communities for generation after generation. This attack hasn’t just left an ever-bleeding wound on our hearts, it’s scarred an entire community who knew him to be the man he was and now isn’t,” the family added.