Beds, Herts & Bucks

Coma victim Henry Huggins: Murderer given life sentence

Henry Huggins Image copyright Fairleys
Image caption Henry Huggins was left in a coma after the attack in August 2013 and died in June 2015

An inmate serving 12 years in jail for assault has been sentenced to life in prison following his victim's death.

Henry Huggins, 48, was attacked near his flat in Luton, on 8 August 2013.

His injuries were so severe that he remained in a coma until his death on 10 June 2015.

Stuart Docherty, 42, of Townley, Luton, originally admitted grievous bodily harm in 2014. Following Mr Huggins' death, Docherty was tried and found guilty of murder earlier this month.

He will now serve at least 20 years and six months in jail.

His co-accused, James Early, 43, was originally convicted of causing actual bodily harm for which he served two years and half years in prison.

Following Mr Huggins' death he faced a manslaughter trial and was sentenced earlier to five years and six months in prison.

In the latest trial the court was told how Early delivered punches that sent Mr Huggins falling backwards, hitting his head on hard cement.

He fled the scene while Docherty stamped on his victims' head and kicked him in the head, leaving him with injuries from which he never recovered.

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

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

Months later, Docherty and Early were jailed for assault. When Mr Huggins died his attackers were re-arrested on charges of murder and manslaughter.

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

Passing sentence on the pair, Judge Foster, said although the attack on Henry that day had not been racially motivated, he was satisfied there had been an "undercurrent" of racial abuse directed at Henry in the weeks leading up to the assault.

He added that he agreed with comment passed by a previous judge who sentenced Docherty for GBH that it was "an appalling act of violence and cowardice, which was a heinous and wicked act."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites