Party crasher jailed over near-fatal house attack

At the High Court in Edinburgh, Holgate admitted assaulting Mr Cook to the danger of his life. Picture: Greg Macvean
At the High Court in Edinburgh, Holgate admitted assaulting Mr Cook to the danger of his life. Picture: Greg Macvean
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A DRUNKEN gate-crasher who was granted bail six times before he almost killed a man with a single punch has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Gary Holgate arrived uninvited at a party and punched 24-year-old Jamie Cook in the face, landing him in intensive care.

A CT scan later revealed the victim had suffered bleeding inside his skull and needed an emergency operation.

Holgate, 22, was sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday for carrying out the near-fatal attack in Gorebridge, Midlothian, last October 26.

Refuse collector Holgate, of Hercus Loan, Musselburgh, East Lothian, had earlier admitted assaulting Mr Cook to the danger of his life, leaving him scarred and permanently impaired.

Holgate’s last court appearance before carrying out the brutal assault had been just 11 days before the incident.

Advocate depute Douglas Fairley QC told judge Lord Bannatyne that Holgate already had a record for breach of the peace, violence and breaching court orders.

He has been jailed twice for assaults and is currently serving a 28-month jail term.

The court heard that Mr Cook and friends had been working as beaters in the Pentland Hills before they left to go to a house in Gorebridge with a carry-out towards the end of the afternoon. Later they were joined by other friends.

Mr Fairley said Holgate arrived, uninvited, at about 10.30pm and appeared to have been drinking.

The prosecutor said: “The accused and Mr Cook began arguing in the living room. The accused then punched Mr Cook to the face, resulting in him landing on his back on the floor.”

Holgate fled the flat and Mr Cook was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

While in the hospital’s accident and emergency department, Mr Cook’s nose started to bleed and he began to lose consciousness.

The scan revealed bleeding inside his skull, although no bones were broken.

After an emergency operation, Mr Cook spent a day or so in intensive care before being transferred to a ward then allowed home, a week after the attack.

Three days later he had to return to hospital suffering from headaches and swelling to his wound.

Mr Fairley said the surgery had left Mr Cook with “a significant scar” from his ear to the middle of his head.

“The injuries to Mr Cook were life-threatening in the absence of surgical intervention,” added the prosecutor.

Solicitor advocate Krista Johnston, defending Holgate, said her client had expressed remorse for causing an “extremely regrettable” injury.

She said: “He doesn’t shy away from accepting his responsibility with regard to the attack.”

Lord Bannatyne ordered the prison sentence to begin at the end of Holgate’s present jail term and extended the time he will remain on licence, after his release, by two-and-a-half years.