Attack victim may never come out of coma, jury told

A Saundersfoot man may never come out of a coma he fell into after he was attacked in the village while enjoying a night out with friends, a jury has heard.

Rory Robert Rogers, aged 26, remained unconscious almost five months after the assault and was now in what was sometimes referred to, said Jim Davis, prosecuting, as “a persistent vegetative state.”

Mr Davis told a jury at Swansea crown court that James Robert Toulouse, 24, of Bonvilles Close, Saundersfoot, did not deny inflicting grievous bodily harm on Mr Rogers.

But he denied causing gbh with intent.

On trial alongside Toulouse is Jason McReynolds, 20, of Ridgeway Close, Saundersfoot.

He denies attempting to pervert the course of justice by helping Toulouse to leave the scene, and also making a false witness statement.

Mr Davis told the jury they would not hear from or see Mr Rogers because was lying in a coma at Neath Port Talbot hospital and could be for the rest of his life.

Mr Davis said on November 16 last year Mr Rogers had been preparing to marry his partner Stacey McKeown and to start a new life in Australia.

But his life was about to change tragically.

Mr Rogers spent the afternoon at his father’s house watching Wales play Argentina at rugby, and then went with friends to the home of Ben Evans. After Mr Evans arrived home after playing football for Saundersfoot at Hakin, the group walked to the Deck Bar.

One of the friends, Luke Wallis, “got very drunk and became 'lippy,'” said Mr Davis.

He said to Toulouse, who was with a different group: “If you think you are hard hit me in the face as hard as you want,” which Toulouse did.

“It was this incident,” said Mr Davis, that sparked off what followed.

Mr Rogers told Toulouse he was “out of order” and the two exchanged words before being pulled apart.

Mr Rogers and Mr Evans left the bar and walked into public gardens on the other side of the road.

Toulouse, said Mr Davis, ran at him and delivered a “haymaker of a punch” and Mr Rogers immediately fell to the ground unconscious.

Toulouse, added Mr Davis, continued to punch Mr Rogers and kicked him to the head before being pulled away. He left the scene with the words, “Pembroke Dock wins,” it was alleged.

“He appeared to be pleased and proud at what he had done,” said Mr Davis.

He told the jury that the prosecution did not allege that Toulouse wanted Mr Rogers to end up in a permanent coma, but he had intended to inflict serious injury.

Mr Rogers’ brain was starved of oxygen and although paramedics managed to build up a heart pulse of 96 beats a minute they could not re-establish a breathing pattern “that could sustain a normal life.”

Meanwhile, added Mr Davis, Toulouse made his way to the Hean pub in Castle Street.

Police were given information and went into the pub, calling out the name of Toulouse. Toulouse and McReynolds immediately left through a fire exit.

Mr Davis said McReynolds knew there were ambulances in the area and that the police were looking for Toulouse. But he telephoned his girlfriend and she drove them away.

Toulouse was arrested as he left a property at Munro Court, Pembroke Dock.

Toulouse told police, said Mr Davis, that he had acted in self defence, but also that “it was my intention one hundred per cent to knock him out.”

He agreed “the red mist had come down” but denied kicking Mr Rogers.

McReynolds told police he had lied about leaving the scene in a taxi because he had not wanted to involve his girlfriend.

The trial continues and the jury is expected to begin considering verdicts on Friday.

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