A businessman who was left in a coma and on a life support machine for 15 days after a violent nightclub attack is renewing pressure on the Crown Prosecution Service to bring fresh charges against his assailant.
Joe Richards is speaking out five years after the attack on New Year’s Eve 2005.
After nearly dying in the incident Mr Richards, aged 41, was later appalled when his assailant walked free with a sentence for 200 hours community service and an order to pay just £500 compensation.
He has campaigned ever since for the rights of victims to be placed more firmly at the centre of the criminal justice system and is now waiting to hear if the CPS will bring a ground-breaking fresh case against his attacker.
“I will have to live under the shadow of this assault for the rest of my life,” said Mr Richards, a self-made man who runs a successful chain of greengrocers’ shops in the Coventry area.
Mr Richards built up a chain of 12 fruit and vegetable shops after starting out with just a market stall.
The attack left the former soldier with severe after-effects emotionally, physically and mentally.
He spent seven weeks in hospital, having suffered a brain haemorrhage, multiple skull fractures, contracted the MRSA bug twice and developed deep vein thrombosis.
His speech was also affected resulting in him sounding slurred.
He was off work for more than a year and permanently lost his sense of taste and smell, a serious blow in his line of business.
Despite his difficulties he has since expanded his business and launched a determined campaign to bring his attacker before court again.
Mr Richards, who has spent £180,000 pursuing his legal challenge, wants the CPS to take the unusual legal step of charging his assailant for an aggravated version of the same offence.
“I have fresh evidence which ought to be considered in a court of law,” said Mr Richards, who lives in Coventry.
“The lack of action calls into question whether any public safety issues are being considered.
“My experience has convinced me that the legal process needs to take far more account of victims than it presently does.”
Mr Richards added: “I am not at all surprised that many people are disillusioned with our criminal justice system.
“Like me, they believe the victim’s voice is not heard clearly enough in court.”