Mum left man brain-damaged after going ‘crazy’ when he touched her leg during a party

A 41-year-old mum left a man brain damaged and unable to walk after she went “crazy like a rabid dog” and beat him up when he touched her leg during an all-night drinks party.

Catherine Jones, a mum-of-three, ambushed John Whitby, 36, in the street after accusing him of fondling her as she was kissing her boyfriend.

In what has been described as a “frenzied” attack, Jones paced up and down a pavement kicking Mr Whitby and screaming in his face as he lay motionless on the ground.

Her boyfriend Joel Hall tried to pull Jones away but then joined in the assault himself repeatedly kicking Mr Whitby in the head every two or three seconds.

Meanwhile, the victim meekly raised a hand to protect himself.

One eye witness later told police that Jones was “screaming and sounding angry”, while pacing up and down next to Whitby’s body.

“I watched her kicking and punching the male on the floor. She was going crazy, slapping, kicking, punching,” they said.

Another witness said: “She was in a frenzy, absolutely crazy and like a rabid dog. She was constantly punching, kicking and slapping the man and even saw her boyfriend tug at her at one stage in a way to tell her to stop – but she didn’t. ‘The force of the blows was causing the man’s body to move up and down on the floor.”

Jones’ boyfriend Joel Hall, who has been jailed for 11 and a half years after he admitted intent to cause GBH


Joel Hall/ Cavendish Press (Manchester) Ltd)

Father of two Mr Whitby, a plasterer of Stretford, Greater Manchester suffered serious head injuries including a fractured skull, and required emergency life saving surgery as a result of the incident. He spent seven months in hospital, and now has to use a zimmer frame after being left with permanent brain damage.

At Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, Jones of Romiley, Stockport was jailed for 30 months after she admitted causing grievous bodily harm. Hall, 38, of Stretford, was jailed for 11 and a half years after he admitted intent to cause GBH.

The court heard the incident happened around 6.30am on April 18, 2020, after Mr Whitby’s ex-girlfriend Hayley Shakoor hosted a party at her home in Stretford.

David Toal prosecuting said: “John arrived at her house at around 6pm on April 17 and they sat together in the garden drinking. Joel Hall arrived a little later in the company of Catherine Jones and she appeared a little drunk.

“Another couple joined the group and they all continued drinking together. Hayley went to bed sometime before 4am and a little while later, John went upstairs and asked if she could transfer some money into Joel Hall’s account so he and Jones could get home.

“She told John to get Hall’s bank account details but drifted off back to sleep. Hayley’s son then woke up at 6.45am as he could hear the sound of repeated thuds every few seconds and John’s name being called over and over again. He looked out of the window and saw both Hall and Jones tapping John’s head with their hands whilst he was on the floor. The son thought John had simply passed out because he was drunk, so he went back to bed.

John Whitby, 36, sustained serious injuries in the ‘unprovoked’ attack


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“But a neighbour heard a male and female arguing and could just see a male’s legs on the pavement. She could hear the female who was present screaming and saw her punching the legs of John’s prone body. She says she saw Hall kicking John every two to three seconds and describes the kicks as “hard kicks”. Mr Whitby was motionless on the floor and offering no resistance whatsoever.

“Another neighbour described Jones as “in a frenzy” , “absolutely crazy” and “like a rabid dog”. She saw her constantly punching, kicking and slapping the prone John Whitby and even saw Hall tug at her in a way to tell her to stop. But she didn’t.

“The force of the blows was causing John’s body to move up and down on the floor. At one stage she saw John raise his arm, only to be met with a kick by Hall in the direction of the head area. The neighbour rang the police and relayed what she was seeing as the assault continued.

“Catherine Jones then went inside Hayley’s house, woke her up and told her that Hall and John had been fighting. Both women went downstairs and Jones and Hall ran out of the back door as police knocked at the front.

“At that time, John was sat on the sofa wearing his cap and initially Hayley Shakoor could not see any injuries on him and police left. Catherine Jones then re-appeared and was crying and she said that she and Hall had been sat on the sofa kissing when John touched her leg and then things got out of hand. Hayley told Jones in very blunt terms to get out of the house.

“By this stage John had gone upstairs and was in Hayley’s bed, fully dressed but without his cap on. It was only then that Hayley could see the extent of his injuries. He had dried blood to the left hand side of his face, his jaw was out of place and his left temple looked swollen. He was mumbling.

“Hall then appeared back at the address and he was asking where Jones was. Hayley asked him what had he had done to John and Hall replied: “he was taking the p..s.” and then he left.”

Mr Whitby was admitted to Salford Royal Hospital in a deep coma and was found to have suffered a life threatening internal head bleed. The left lower lobe of his lung had collapsed and he had also sustained a depressed fracture of the skull. After emergency brain surgery he had to have a tracheostomy to help him breathe.

More than 18 months since the attack, he is suffering from Post Traumatic Amnesia and has difficulty retaining information on an hour-by hour or day-by-day basis. He cannot recall the incident.

In a statement, Miss Shakoor said Whitby was not the fit, strong man he was before he was assaulted, and never would be again. He now tired very quickly, she said, and slurred his words, which caused him to become frustrated. He has to use a Zimmer frame all the time and cannot lift his feet up off the floor.

“They have taken the life he used to have. They have taken his future too,” she added.

When police raided Jones’ home in Stockport on the day of the attack, they found Hall hiding in an airing cupboard. Both he and Jones were arrested.

Hall told police he was kissing Jones when Mr Whitby “grabbed her by her pants”. He told the victim that he was “taking the p..s” and pushed him off but said Jones began “going f..king nuts”.

He said he tried to calm her down after she went outside but when Mr Whitby followed them she “went mad and started hitting and punching him.” Hall said he only punched Mr Whitby as the victim had got up and he thought he was about to strike Jones – but he denied kicking him. Jones made “no comment” to all questions.

In mitigation for Jones, defence counsel Michael Lavery said his client had been subject to violence in the past, and had been in a “toxic” relationship with Hall.

“She has children and is the sole carer for her son who suffers from ADHD and heightened anxiety,” he said. “Immediate imprisonment today would have a great impact on him. She admits she had taken alcohol and cocaine. She is voluntarily remorseful and a lady of good character, who is the primary carer for her vulnerable child.”

For Hall, Mr Harbinder Lally said: “He is genuinely remorseful. Whatever the instigation was, there is no justification for the injuries to the victim. They had previously been close friends.”

Sentencing Judge Tina Landale said: “Drink was taken by you all and after a disagreement, the three of you ended up on the pavement outside where this vicious attack took place. You, Jones repeatedly kicked him whilst he was motionless on the floor. You were described by one witness as being crazy. Hall, you delivered a number of kicks that were forceful and deliberate.

“You delivered at least one kick to the head whilst he was defenceless and motionless. The consequences have been catastrophic. Everything about John Whitby’s life has changed and there is no foreseeable improvement.”

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