A violent thug has been jailed for life for attacking a man after a party so viciously he was left in a vegetative state for 12 years before his death.
Drunken Mark Cranfield jumped on Alec Driver’s head with both feet after knocking him to the floor and booting him in the face after a house party in February 2007.
Tragically, Mr Driver was left in a vegetative state until his death in April 2019 aged 41.
Cranfield, now 38, was jailed at Preston Crown Court on Friday after pleading guilty to murder. He had previously been spent 14 years in jail for attempted murder.
Mr Driver was at a party at his partner’s flat in Horsebridge Road, Blackpool, Lancs, on the night he was attacked.
Violent thug Mark Cranfield has been jailed for life after his drunken attack on Alec Driver in 2007 left him in a vegetative state and led to his death in 2019
Cranfield becoming increasingly aggressive towards Mr Driver as he became more drunk, police said.
As Mr Driver attempted to leave the first floor flat in the early hours of February 21, Cranfield pushed him down the stairs and punched his victim to the floor.
Cranfield then kicked and stamped on Mr Driver’s head, before jumping and landing on the victim’s head with both feet.
He then returned to the flat and boasted about his brutal assault before again attacking Mr Driver as he lay defenceless on the floor.
It was only when a neighbour found Mr Driver unconscious on the pavement that help called. He was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital with serious injuries.
As Alec Driver attempted to leave a first floor flat in Blackpool in the early hours, Cranfield pushed him down the stairs and punched his victim to the floor. Cranfield then kicked and stamped on Mr Driver’s head, before jumping and landing on the victim’s head with both feet
Cranfield was later arrested and charged with attempted murder. He pleaded guilty and was jailed at Preston Crown Court in December 2007 for a minimum of nine years.
Tragically Mr Driver never regained full consciousness and was discharged from hospital in June 2007.
He spent almost 12 years in a long-term care facility where he remained in a low-awareness vegetative state, unable to communicate before his death in in April 2019.
A forensic post-mortem examination and further expert pathological examination found Mr Driver had died as a direct consequence of the injuries inflicted by Cranfield.
Following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service and with the permission of the Attorney General, Cranfield was charged with murder in April last year.
As he had already served 14 years, he was given a minimum term of three years and 123 days in jail before being able to apply for parole. He will remain on life licence.
Cranfield was given a minimum term of three years and 123 days in jail before being able to apply for parole at Preston Crown Court
Det Insp Mark Dickinson, of Lancashire Police, said: ‘The level of violence displayed by Cranfield when he attacked Alec Driver on Horsebridge Road in February 2007 was sickening.
‘The sentence passed down reflects how, anyone capable of such a brutal and mindless act of violence, should be either held in custody, or be subject to monitoring by the Probation Service, for the rest of their lives.
‘Alec’s family wanted to publish these photos of him; one before the assault in February 2007, and the other as he was treated in his last days of life, to illustrate the effect of such a violent act.
‘The lasting impact of this crime, not only on Alec Driver, but also on his family and friends, is terrible.
‘I have nothing but admiration for the quiet dignity with which Alec’s sisters and brother have conducted themselves over the last 14 years.
‘I hope that this conviction and sentence can offer them some sense of closure.’
Mr Driver’s family said in a statement issued through the police: ‘Alec Driver as a child was a victim of circumstance in that he lost his mother at 13 – a mother who he truly idolised.
‘He was the trailer to her truck. Within a short period of time he also suffered the loss of his brother George. The tragic loss of which haunted him till February 21, 2017.
‘Alec had his flaws which he would freely admit to however, he had a kind soul and a generous heart who would give you his last penny.
‘Our one consolation as a family is that he outlived our father who prayed daily for him just to hear his voice.
‘Alec is much loved and greatly missed by his family. The trailer is now back with the truck.’