Beds, Herts & Bucks

Jonathan Barton died nine years after Milton Keynes attack

A man who was stabbed in the head with a screwdriver in an attack in Milton Keynes died of his injuries nine years later, a court has heard.

Jonathan Barton was 19 when he was assaulted outside the Beacon pub in September 2000 and was left unable to move or speak. He died in July 2009.

Leigh Clift, 31, of Lincolnshire Close, Bletchley, is on trial at Luton Crown Court for murder, which he denies.

He was convicted in 2002 of causing grievous bodily harm to Mr Barton.

He was charged with murder in January 2011.

Prosecutor Neil Moore said Mr Barton had gone to the pub with colleagues from a Tesco warehouse, and Mr Clift was there with a friend.

The atmosphere in the pub became hostile over a separate incident and Mr Clift and his friend left, he added.

Catastrophic injury

As they did so Mr Clift winked at Mr Barton "provocatively", which triggered an argument, Mr Moore said.

Once outside, Mr Clift was seen looking for something in his friend's car boot, which the court heard must have been the screwdriver "to use as a weapon".

Mr Moore said a witness saw the defendant with the screwdriver and Mr Barton on the ground and bleeding from his head.

The defendant ran off, discarding the screwdriver and a top he had been wearing, the court heard.

Mr Barton was found to have two puncture wounds, one of which had passed through from the left to the right side of his brain.

The wound caused a "catastrophic brain injury" which left Mr Barton in a semi-vegetative state.

He was to spend the rest of his life in hospitals, rehabilitation units and at home where his mother had an extension built on to their home so her son could be cared for, the court heard.

In July 2009, he suffered a cardio respiratory arrest after a procedure to reinsert his feeding tube and died.

The court heard it had been the conclusion of a medical expert that there was a direct link between the attack and his death.

The trial continues.

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