Beds, Herts & Bucks

Coma victim Henry Huggins: Man convicted of murder

Henry Huggins Image copyright Fairleys
Image caption Henry Huggins was in a coma from the attack in August 2013 until his death in June 2015

A man has been convicted of murdering a 48-year-old who spent 22 months in a coma before he died.

Henry Huggins was injured near his flat in Luton, on 8 August 2013 and died in June 2015.

Stuart Docherty, 42, of Townley, Luton, who in 2014 admitted causing grievous bodily harm, has now been found guilty of murder.

James Early, 43, who was convicted of causing actual bodily harm in 2014, has been found guilty of manslaughter.

They will be sentenced at Luton Crown Court later this month.

Image copyright South Beds
Image caption Stuart Docherty (left) and James Early have previously admitted assaulting Henry Huggins

Mr Huggins was initially assaulted by Early in a dispute about his dog outside his home in Whipperley Ring.

He was punched to the ground, before Docherty arrived and stamped on his head "causing catastrophic brain damage", prosecutor Stuart Trimmer QC told the jury

He remained alive in hospital "in a persistent vegetative state" for almost two years.

"Some describe it as being alive in name only," said Mr Trimmer.

Following the verdict, Det Insp Fraser Wylie said: "Although both men had already been found guilty previously in relation to this atrocious attack, they refused to accept the blame for his death, pleading not guilty to murder and manslaughter and putting Henry's family and friends through the trauma of a further trial.

"This was a sickeningly violent and completely unnecessary assault.

"Despite Henry already being on the floor as a result of Early's punches, Docherty jumped several times on his head with clear intent to cause him maximum harm."

Docherty is currently serving a sentence of 12 years for grievous bodily harm in relation to the assault.

Early, of Whipperley Ring, Luton, had previously served a two and a half year sentence for the actual bodily harm of Henry Huggins.

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