The sister of a much-loved dad who died following a one punch assault has spoken of the devastating impact it has had on her family's lives for our #OnePunchCanKill campaign.
Melanie Spate’s brother Danny Maguire, aged 34, suffered a serious head injury following a One Punch assault at the King’s Arms in Westgate, Grantham, on 28 February 2020. Mr Maguire, from Retford, was rushed to hospital but sadly died on 6 March 2020, after his life support machine was switched off.
Luke Templeman, 29, of Launder Terrace, Grantham, was last year sentenced to four years and eight months imprisonment after admitting to the manslaughter of Mr Maguire.
Following Mr Maguire’s death, and a number of other one punch assaults we launched a #OnePunchCanKill campaign to raise awareness of the devastating impact one punch can have.
Despite her family’s tragic loss, Mrs Spate has very bravely chosen to support our campaign to help us show the devastating impact a one punch death can have on a family.
Mrs Spate, from Nottinghamshire, said:
“My brother, Danny Maguire went out after work for a drink on Friday 28th February 2020. He had a heated discussion with a man in a pub beer garden later on that evening.
The man walked away and then turned around and decided to punch my brother in the face. My brother fell back, hit his head and was knocked unconscious. He never woke up again. A week later he died in hospital from his injuries.
My family and I spent every day at the hospital with him hoping and praying he would survive. It has absolutely broken us as a family.
Our parents could not cope with being there whilst his machines, that were keeping him alive, were turned off.
I sat and held my brother’s hand while his life support was turned off and he took his last breaths. I do not wish that on anyone. My husband came with me and witnessed me walk out the room and collapse on the floor whilst screaming like an animal in pain. I wish he hadn’t had to see that.
I am so proud of my brother as he was an organ donor. His death meant he was able to help three men by donating both his kidneys and his heart.
My brother has a nine-year-old son who now has to live his life without his Daddy. I have a six-year-old son who absolutely adored his Uncle and struggled to comprehend why he could no longer see him. I have laid in bed at night with my son while he has been sobbing asking if his Uncle can come back from heaven. He is scared that his Mummy or Daddy might die and leave him.
My parents are broken. They cannot bear to talk about anything that has happened. My Mum is heartbroken. I witness her on a regular basis falling apart because she has lost her boy. My grief has been bubbling under the surface since it happened.
I have had to stay strong for my son, my nephew and my parents. Now, over a year later it is hitting me again. I genuinely do not know how my family, or I will ever be the same again. I have experienced loss in my life, but nothing prepares you for losing a love one in this way. A senseless act that has left a young boy without his Daddy and for what? I urge people to think about how their actions can change people’s lives in seconds.
What can start out as a fun night drinking with friends can easily turn into a nightmare that can ruin so many lives. Please, if you ever face confrontation be the better person and walk away."
One punch assaults
Sadly, Mr Maguire’s death is not the only One Punch killing we have had in Lincolnshire.
Gediminas Vaitkus, aged 43, of Tunnard Street, Boston, died after a one punch assault in Red Lion Street in Boston on July 28 2020, and sadly died. Hikmet Maez, 19, of Spilsby Road, Boston, pleaded guilty to the charge of manslaughter and was sentenced to three years in prison.
Another one punch assault victim, Mark Hatcher, aged 47, was rushed to hospital following an assault in the street near the Black Bull in Donington. He was left with brain damage. Paul Hayes, 47, of Donington, was jailed for three years following the assault.
Detective Chief Inspector Richard Myszczyszyn, of East Midlands Special Operations Unit, said:
"The ‘One Punch Can Kill’ campaign reminds people that in a split second a person can become a killer or be killed.
“What can start out as a fun night drinking with friends can easily turn into a nightmare. Just one punch can ruin the lives of both the victim and the person who throws the punch.
“Lincolnshire Police is committed to tackling violent crime and we will continue our efforts to reduce the numbers of victims, but we need people to play their part by thinking about their actions before they get involved in a fight.
“One action can mean the difference between your family visiting you in prison or coming to say their final goodbyes to you in the intensive care unit. If you face confrontation whilst out, please remember the sensible thing is to turn around and walk away."
As part of our ongoing work to reduce violent crime, we are working with registered charity OnePunchUK to raise awareness of the devastation that a one punch assault can have on the victim and their families.
OnePunchUK was founded by Maxine Thompson-Curl whose son Kristian was tragically killed following a one punch attack while on a night in Consett, County Durham.
Kristian, aged 19, was in a coma for more than a week and survived for 10 months but died in 2011.
Following her son’s tragic death, Maxine has been raising awareness about the dangers of one punch attacks through her Punched Out Cold campaign working alongside the police.
"One punch awareness campaigns are so important as they help us to get our message out. We spend all year trying to make people aware of how important it is not to use our hands as weapons and to stop, think and walk away. One punch assaults can and do cause devastation to victims, their families, friends, and also to the person who throws the punch. It is life changing in a very negative way. This devastation can be prevented by trying to be in control of your emotions, especially whilst under the influence of alcohol. Please be responsible for your actions at all times. Stop this needless devastation. Stop think and walk away.”
OnePunchUK is happy to talk to any families that have been impacted by a one punch assault.
If you’ve been the victim of crime, support is available, whether you have reported the crime to the police or not. Victim Lincs provide free, confidential advice and guidance, as well as access to specialist emotional support services. Visit their website or call 01522 947510 Monday – Friday, 8am – 4pm.