ASSAULT VICTIM DIES AFTER BEING LEFT IN A COMA FOR TWO YEARS
A MAN who was brutally assaulted on his doorstep has died after spending two years in a coma as a result of the attack.
Matthew Sheehan was 34 when he was pulled into the street in Adamsdown, Cardiff, by 15-stone Raymond Anthony Burrell who punched, kicked and stamped on him.
Thug Burrell left his victim in a coma for more than two years. It has now been confirmed that Mr Sheehan died last Thursday.
The attack, on September 1, 2015, was in a dispute over a barking dog.
Burrell, now 40, had been “irritated” by Mr Sheehan complaining about his cross-Staffordshire bull terrier’s barking.
In the attack Mr Sheehan, who walked with a stick, was dragged barefoot and without his glasses into the street before being attacked.
He was left with fractures to his nose and one eye socket, swelling to his mouth, and bruising to both sides of his brain with bleeding caused by blood vessels from the brain being stretched and torn.
He also had marks to his body consistent with him being dragged, like those seen “on somebody who has come off a motorbike”, and there was the imprint of a shoe.
A pathologist told Burrell’s trial there had been “significant force” used.
The court was also told Burrell walked away from his victim but then returned to where he had left him lying in a pool of blood and attacked him a second time so he would “not be able to testify to what happened”.
In April 2016 Burrell was given a life sentence by Judge Paul Thomas QC with a recommendation he serve a minimum eight years before being allowed to apply for parole.
A jury had acquitted him of attempted murder but convicted him of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
During the trial, his victim was described as having been left with “horrendous injuries” to his head and body.
The judge said Burrell – who had previously shot and killed his girlfriend – had a “volcanic temper and a callous indifference to human life”.
Speaking during the court case, Mr Sheehan’s father Martin said his son had been left in a vegetative state.
“While he can now breathe unaided for a short time each hour he is still on oxygen, has a breathing tube and is having to be regularly medicated to stave off infections.
“He cannot recognise friends or family and we’ve been told the doctors expect him to be totally reliant on medical care for many years to come meaning he won’t be able to do anything for himself.
“The life he had has been taken away by Raymond Burrell.
“We can’t believe Raymond Burrell has put us through such agony.
“It’s like he put us in hell when he hurt and left Matthew for dead, then he dragged us through hell during the trial – in effect he doubled our suffering.”
Mr Sheehan added: “All we can do is hold his hand.”
A police spokeswoman said yesterday: “We are aware of the sad passing of Matthew Sheehan, 36, on Thursday, November 9, at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff.
“The South Wales Police major investigation team is now liaising with Mr Sheehan’s family, the Crown Prosecution Service and HM Coroner in respect of his death.
“Anyone with information is asked to contact South Wales Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 quoting occurrence number 1500321067.”
Mr Sheehan had a condition called cerebellar ataxia which caused him to be unsteady on his feet and to use a crutch when he went out.
Speaking at the time of Burrell’s conviction, the family said their lives had been “turned upside down”.
“It is difficult for us to understand how someone could inflict such horrific injuries on another person – more so on a vulnerable person who can’t even defend themselves.
“And when it is your own flesh and blood it has happened to it is even harder to deal with.”
Burrell had previously been jailed for seven years for shooting his teenage girlfriend through the heart.
Cardiff Crown Court accepted his guilty plea at the time to a charge of manslaughter after hearing a gun, which Burrell had on him illegally, was discharged accidentally during the incident in 1993.
Amie Miles, 17, was shot outside a flat in the Grangetown area of the city after returning from her parttime job as a barmaid.
The jury in that trial heard Burrell left the scene leaving his dying girlfriend to call an ambulance.
The court heard when Burrell was 16 he stabbed two nightclub doormen in Cardiff after being refused entry to a club.
Matthew Sheehan has died after being in a coma for two years after he was attacked on his doorstep
Matthew Sheehan in hospital after the attack
Raymond Anthony Burrell