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"Remorseful" thug jailed for two and a half years
A THUG who left a soldier so brain damaged he didn’t recognise his wife and children has been sentenced to two-and-ahalf years in prison after a judge decided he is “genuinely remorseful”.
Luke Hoole, 22, was on licence after serving half of a four-year jail term for attacking someone with a baseball bat when he punched 49-year-old Kenneth Teasdale in an Amesbury alleyway in February.
But at Salisbury Crown Court on Wednesday, Judge John Dixon decided Hoole could not be considered dangerous and that he had shown genuine remorse in a “thoughtful” and “intelligent” letter he had written to the court.
Mr Teasdale was walking home along an alleyway between Earls Court Road and Solstice Rise after watching a football match with friends at Boscombe Down Recreation Club when Hoole hit him before running off, leaving him lying unconscious on the ground.
The soldier, a WO2 with 43 Wessex Brigade, suffered extensive skull fractures and bleeding in his brain, and spent three-and-a-half weeks in Southampton General Hospital.
He was on life support and was kept paralysed with drugs to stop him moving. His family didn’t know if he would live or die.
As well as memory loss, he was left with reduced strength, balance and co-ordination and, six months later, is still a patient at Headley Court Rehabilitation Centre in Surrey.
Natalie Wood, prosecuting, told the court: “He is significantly disabled – he won’t return to the army, he won’t return to driving and his injuries will continue to be a barrier to independent living.”
A statement from Mr Teasdale’s wife Joyce said her husband is “a shadow of his former self”.
“It’s horrible to see this former strong soldier, provider and husband in this state,” she said. “It’s heartbreaking. The road ahead is a long one and there will be many hurdles to cross.”
Throughout his trial in August, Hoole, of Highfield Road, Amesbury, insisted that he acted in self-defence, but a jury found him guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm.
Sentencing, Judge Dixon said: “Because of you a man is now brain damaged and disabled for the rest of his life. Kenneth Teasdale didn’t deserve what happened to him.”
Hoole will serve the remainder of his licence period for the previous GBH offence alongside this sentence, meaning he could be released on licence after 15 months.