A violent thug who punched a Sikh leader in a horrific daylight attack that left him with life-changing brain injuries has been jailed for three years.
Claudio Campos, 28, approached Avtar Singh, 62, from behind before violently punching him in the head in the centre of Manchester’s Northern Quarter on June 23 earlier this year.
The Chilean defendant pursued Mr Singh shortly after he walked past him and his Polish girlfriend at a pedestrian crossing.
Mr Singh, who was walking home from work with his partner at the time, fell unconscious in the middle of the road following the attack – where he remained until a member of the public called 999.
He was subsequently rushed to hospital, where remains more than three months later, having suffered a life changing brain injury.
Campos, of Ladybarn Lane, Manchester, was jailed for three years at Manchester Crown Court today, having earlier pleaded guilty to assault.
Speaking after the sentencing today, Mr Singh’s family paid tribute to the ‘truly brilliant, gentle and kind human being’.
In a statement, they said: ‘When our dad came to this country over 30 years ago, he never imagined that he would be the subject of such a heinous attack which has left him bed bound and in hospital for as long as he has been.
Campos, of Ladybarn Lane, Manchester, was jailed for three years at Manchester Crown Court today
‘As a family, we are truly heartbroken and still struggle to come to terms with the reality of his future and the truth behind this crime.
‘He didn’t do anything to deserve this situation where he has permanently damaged his sight and lost complete mobility down his right side.
‘Although we will never get the strong powerful man, who is the light of our lives back, we are satisfied with the result given by the court today.
“Avtar is a truly brilliant, gentle and kind human being who has spent his whole life looking after everyone around him. He is a tremendous father, a hardworking husband and the most amazing priest who has served communities for generation after generation.
The statement added: ‘This attack hasn’t just left an ever bleeding wound on our hearts, it’s scarred an entire community who knew him to be the man he was and now isn’t.
‘We are grateful for the support that people have continued to provide and the justice that Greater Manchester Police have sought for our family.
‘Sadly, our fight does not end today as we continue to watch Avtar fight to gain back a quality of life that will see him through recovery.
‘We know now that we will never feel as safe as we once thought we were walking through the city centre in Manchester, given this situation was as unprovoked as it was brutal.
CCTV released by Greater Manchester Police showed the moment Campos punched Mr Singh in Manchester
Mr Singh, who has been left with life changing brain injuries, was ‘left for dead’ unconscious in the middle of the street
‘Our dad came to this country to work hard and teach others to preach kindness and move past any hatred in their hearts. It’s a true shame this person left an elderly man for dead in the middle of the street.
‘The law has fought part of our battle today but we will never be able to piece back the strength and the happiness that our dad was so amazingly built upon.’
It is believed the grandfather accidentally brushed the arm of a young woman when walking home, before Campos then followed him down the street.
CCTV footage released by Greater Manchester Police as part of their probe into the attack captured the men exchanging words on Hilton Street.
Mr Singh moved away but he is pursued onto Tib Street and is hit in the head twice before falling to the floor.
His attacker then walks away, leaving him lying in the road near a restaurant.
Campos was identified after the footage was released on social media, with intelligence received from the public leading to his arrest last month.
Detective Inspector Mark Astbury, of Greater Manchester Police, said: ‘This was a horrific attack of a much loved family member and community leader which deeply shocked the public.
‘I hope today’s verdict gives Mr Singh’s family some relief that the person who has harmed their husband and father has now faced justice and will be sent to prison.
‘I would like to thank the public for their help with our investigation and our thoughts are very much with Mr Singh, we hope he is able to return home soon.’