A man who was attacked outside a pub in New Brighton is campaigning for stricter sentencing and increased compensation after losing an eye during the unprovoked assault.
Michael ‘Mick’ Norris, 55, was subject to the horrifying ordeal on September 5th 2022 at The Harbour Pub in New Brighton where he was out socialising with friends. The assault was carried out by Kyle Dickinson from Moreton who served just 8 months in jail for the violent assault.
Mick said: “After I sat down next to him, I immediately got the impression that something was very wrong. I turned to leave and in a split second he grabbed hold of me and threw me against the fruit machine, I immediately knew my eye had been damaged. I was screaming ‘my eye, my eye!’ but he continued to stamp on my head and back.”
After Dickinson fled the scene, Mick was taken to Arrowe Park Hospital where he was told that his optic nerve had been severed leaving him permanently blind in one eye. He was later moved to Chester Eye Clinic for an operation to re-attach the eye where he remained for nine days. Mick’s surgeon described his ordeal as a “once in a career injury” due to the extent of his wounds.
Mr. Norris lost his job as a senior production operator due to his injuries and has since suffered from anxiety, depression, a lack of confidence, a mistrust of crowded areas and crossing roads due to his altered depth perception. Mick’s altered vision caused him to trip and fall down the stairs of his flat weeks later, breaking his collarbone.
Mick said: “It gradually sinks in. I thought ‘how will I be able to cope?’ It’s an extremely difficult thing to come to terms with. Your whole life changes and it’s difficult for me to trust strangers — I have blind spots now and this is both dangerous and gives me paranoia — especially whilst I am out socialising.”
Dickinson was seen bragging about the attack at a local pub just one month later. The attacker produced a fake eye and was caught laughing with friends about his assault on Mick. Witnesses informed Sentencing Recorder Jeremy Laskin of Dickinson’s behaviour but this did not result in an extended sentence for the attacker, who admitted he had been drinking before the assault.
Dickinson admitted to inflicting grievous bodily harm without intent and despite having multiple previous convictions for violence, including a molestation order, he was sentenced for just 28 months. He fist bumped a supporter in the public gallery behind the dock before being led down to the cells, having also been handed a restraining order banning him from contacting Mr. Norris for 10 years.
Causing outrage amongst many, Dickinson only served 8 months of his sentence before being released earlier this year due to prisons being full. Mick said: “I was at a really low point for a good few months, the justice system is unjust. I have suffered life changing injuries for no reason at all but all I want to do is pick myself up and move on from it.”
Mick will receive a maximum of £20,250 for the loss of an eye after legal costs, causing him to feel angry at the lack of compensation for a life-changing injury. He now wants to raise awareness of violent crime in the area and is writing to the government to campaign for stricter sentences and increased compensation for such attacks. He also hopes the case will make others think twice about violent behaviour when drunk.
Mick has hope for the future and is planning to get back to work again with the support of his family and friends, although he does fear his job prospects are limited. He hopes to let other survivors of similar attacks know that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that people can move on from violent attacks.
Mick summarised: “I have more operations to come but I’m feeling positive about 2024. I’ve got to get on with my life. I don’t want my family and friends to worry about me. I want to get back to work. I want to make a difference, that’s why I’m campaigning for a change.”