Neigh­bour at­tacked at home dies af­ter two years in a coma

Western Mail - - NEWS - Ruth Mos­al­ski Lo­cal gov­ern­ment re­porter ruth.mos­al­ski@waleson­line.co.uk

AMAN 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 on Thurs­day, Novem­ber 9.

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 Stafford­shire bull ter­rier-cross’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”

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 known as 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.”

> Matthew Sheehan was left in a coma, left, af­ter the bru­tal at­tack by neigh­bour Ray­mond Bur­rell, right, in a bark­ing dog row

> Dis­abled Matthew Sheehan has died from his in­juries

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