Glasgow & West Scotland

Man admits random attack which left pensioner with brain damage

Brain Warden Image copyright Spindrift
Image caption Brian Warden admitted the unprovoked attack on 77-year-old Owen Hagen

A man has admitted leaving a pensioner with permanent brain damage after punching him in an unprovoked attack.

Brian Warden, 36, from Dumbarton, struck Owen Hagan, 77, as he walked past him and his wife in Glasgow city centre.

The retired teacher was left unconscious and bleeding on the street.

Warden, a father-of-three, admitted assaulting Mr Hagan to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement and to the danger of his life.

He claims to have little recollection of the evening but handed himself in to police the next day after a media appeal to see if he had any involvement.

Sheriff Norman Ritchie QC told Warden's lawyer, Clare Ryan: "Your client has destroyed a man's life."

He also said he is considering remitting the case to the High Court for sentence.

'Agitated manner'

Mr Hagan was described in court as "very active and independent and enjoyed walking and learning new languages".

The court heard Warden and his wife were in town from midday on 23 March last year and spent the day drinking.

Procurator fiscal depute Kathleen O'Donnell said at about 21:30 a number of people saw the couple arguing.

Warden was seen punching and head butting walls in Bath Lane.

He stopped and sat at the corner of West Campbell Street and Bath Street with his head in his hands in an "agitated manner", then stood up and was followed by his wife along Bath Street.

Ms O'Donnell said: "At this time, Mr Hagan who had been out drinking in Glasgow was heading along Bath Street in the direction of Warden and his wife.

"There was no interaction between Warden and Mr Hagan.

"Whilst walking towards Mr Hagan, Warden then drew his arm back and punched Mr Hagan without warning, striking him to the head area causing him to fall backwards and strike his head on the pavement.

"Warden continued on his way without breaking his stride."

Fractured skull

The attack was seen by a number of people, who went to help the pensioner who was lying on the ground unconscious and bleeding from his ears.

Warden and his wife continued in the same direction along Bath Street, towards the city centre.

Mr Hagan was taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary where a CT scan revealed a fractured skull and bleed to the brain.

The following morning his condition deteriorated and was deemed "life threatening".

He seemed to improve, and was able to speak to hospital staff and his son, but he later became increasingly disorientated and confused.

In May he was transferred from Glasgow to York Hospital to be closer to his GP son.

'Horrendous'

Ms O'Donnell said his neurologist believed he was unlikely to improve to any significant level and had been left with permanent brain damage.

"He will require assistance in every aspect of his care and is unlikely to ever be able to care for himself independently again or be able to leave hospital care," she said.

The pensioner, who now uses a wheelchair, is in danger of seizures and will have to sell his home to pay for his care at £950 per week.

Sheriff Ritchie deferred sentence for reports and remanded Warden in custody.

He told him: "Your wife commented you're a good man, that may well be right.

"This was not a good deed, this was a horrendous thing you did.

"You have caused the end of this active man's life, a man who has given a public service."

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