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John recovering after attack nearly killed him
SHOCKING pictures of a man who was attacked by his former best friend have revealed the extent of his injuries.
John Eccles came close to death after he was knocked unconscious by Andrew Dodds and spent two weeks in a coma.
The pals fell out after Mr Eccles’ partner of seven years, and the mother of his four-year-old daughter, left him for Dodds.
Speaking publicly for the first time since the attack Mr Eccles, who lives at Blackhill, near Consett and works as a duty manager at the Louisa Sports Centre in Stanley, said: “When I woke up in hospital I thought I had been hit by a car. I did not know what was going on. I cannot remember what happened. My family had to tell me.”
The pair clashed during a chance meeting outside Decades nightclub, in Front Street, Consett, County Durham, last April, and Mr Eccles hit his head off a wall after he was punched by Dodds.
He spent almost six months in hospital and had to have about a third of his skull removed where a metal plate has been fitted.
He suffered from memory loss, a speech impediment, partial paralysis on his right side and receives therapy to help him restore his cognitive skills.
Mr Eccles and Dodds, 35, of Castleside, became firm friends after playing football together at Belle Vue Leisure Centre in Consett over 20 years ago.
Dodds was jailed for three years last August, but is expected to be freed later this year while Mr Eccles is only just starting to rebuild his life.
Mr Eccles added: “I am having a meeting with occupational health on Wednesday so I will see what they say, but I would like to go back to work as soon as possible “I have been told it could be 18 months, it could be five or six years, but I want to go back now.
“He could have done longer. I think he has been lucky with the sentence.
“I could have died that day.”
Mr Eccles was treated for heavy bleeding on the brain and remained in intensive care in Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary for some time after the incident.
Now Mr Eccles and his brother, Mark, 32, have raised almost £1,000 for the unit with a recent charity night at the Number One Club in Consett.
Mr Eccles said: “Lots of local businesses donated raffle prizes so I would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to them and everyone for their support in general.”
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