Liverpool

Gary Skelly's mother joins 'killer punch' campaign

The mother of a man who died in an attack in a Liverpool street is supporting a police campaign which highlights the dangers of drink.

Gary Skelly, 53, died after he was hit with a single punch in Scargreen Avenue, Norris Green, last September.

Merseyside Police said more than 20 people have died as a result of alcohol-related fights in the past five years - seven killed by a single punch.

Gary's mother, Agnes, is supporting the force's One Punch Can Kill campaign.

Her son, who had learning disabilities, was attacked after he asked for a cigarette.

James Lee, of no fixed address, was found guilty of Mr Skelly's manslaughter and was jailed for seven years in March.

'Split-second decision'

Police are working to raise awareness about how even one punch can have devastating consequences and to encourage people to enjoy a drink responsibly.

Ch Supt Jon Ward said: "We're trying to get the message out there, a split-second decision can destroy lives and that ultimately - one punch can kill.

Image caption Gary Skelly died after he was punched in Norris Green

"The summer months are a particularly busy time of year, when lots of people are enjoying a night out.

"While violent crime is down across the force and we don't want people to stop enjoying themselves, we do want people to realise the serious implications of getting involved in a fight, or even drinking too much and leaving yourself open to becoming a victim of crime.

"We're appealing for people to think before they act - there is no shame in walking away from trouble.

"By controlling your drinking and your temper you could stay out of trouble, because throwing a punch is just not worth the risk."

The campaign is also being supported by consultant neurosurgeon at The Walton Centre, Paul Eldridge.

He said: "Sadly, not infrequently we see young people who have suffered serious head injuries as a result of a single punch, usually associated with alcohol.

"Unfortunately the aftermath is either they don't survive or, arguably worse, they have a lifelong major disability."

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