A mother-of-two who suffered a brain haemorrhage following a brutal attack outside a Darlington pub says doctors told her she was lucky to be alive.
Kayleigh Bradshaw was left unconscious at Blackwellgate for 15 minutes after a man she thought was her friend knocked her to the ground with a powerful blow – leaving her with a brain bleed and her jaw broken in three places .
Her attacker, Thomas Mason, has now been jailed for 27 months for causing grievous bodily harm and his part in a ‘shameful fight’ that took place after a public holiday night in 2020.
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The 32-year-old victim admits that after drinking for hours she sparked an initial altercation with Mason’s partner Kirsty Forde, who also appeared at Teesside Crown Court earlier this week after admitting simple assault.
It was outside a pub in Blackwellgate that Mason pushed Forde into a group of women and the 29-year-old mother attacked Kayleigh, with the pair falling to the ground.
As friends and family tried to pull them apart, Mason could be heard shoving his partner and yelling, “Grab ’em girl.”
Shocking CCTV shows Mason pushing one man to the ground, attempting to attack another and bursting into the women trying to make peace, punching them in multiple directions.
Kayleigh says it was when she got up that she saw Mason hitting her brother, a charge that was later dropped in court, and when she asked him what he was doing, he attacked her.
With one devastating blow, Mason throws her to the ground and the mother then had to undergo surgery to fix her jaw which was broken in three places.
“I was drunk and went back to the pub for an argument and because of my actions at the start of the night, a lot of the blame is laid on that,” Kayleigh told DarlingtonLive.
“I understand that was not the right thing to do.
“When we came out, I didn’t expect him to do this. He was a close friend. He was so close he was like family.
“It affected my trust in people. I would never have thought for a second that he would have done something like this.
“Doctors said I was lucky to be alive. I had a brain bleed, he didn’t need medical treatment but he was still there.
“I suffered from severe headaches but it was mainly my jaw that was broken in three places. I had to put a metal plate on my chin.”
After the August 31, 2020 nightmare ordeal, Kayleigh says Mason posted Snapchats bragging that he and the large ring, which was on his hand when he punched her, were out on bail.
“It’s really sad because we were friends. It can affect a lot of people — anyone who’s seen this happen,” said Kayleigh, who is in therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder.
“The last thing I remember is coming forward and saying what are you doing when he hit my brother and then that’s when he turned around and slapped me. hit.
“I woke up on the floor, it’s very blurry. I could see everyone shouting ‘Kayleigh, get up’ but it was getting quiet and loud.
“I’m just trying to get back to a normal life routine.
“Now that he’s gone to court and he’s gone to jail, I have to move on.”
On Tuesday, Teesside Crown Court heard how two off-duty PCSOs intervened and made “valiant” efforts to pull Mason, 33, away from the group, who were caring for an unconscious Kayleigh who lay in the road.
He shoved one of the off-duty PCSO women in the chest and told her to “fuck off” before Mason and Forde fled the scene.
Mason, of Droverhouse Lane, Satley, admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent, assault by beating and fighting.
He was imprisoned for 27 months.
While his partner, Kirsty Forde, was granted a 12-month parole after admitting common assault.
“It was just a blur. It was stressful, every time it went to court it got pushed back,” added Kayleigh, who lives in Darlington.
“I don’t trust anyone, I don’t go out. Now I just want to look forward.
“No matter the fight before, I didn’t deserve what happened. My height compared to his height and the size of the ring he has in his hand – I’m lucky I wasn’t dead .It’s awful to think about things like that.”
Now Kayleigh is hopeful she can move on and put the ordeal, which weighs on her 18-month-old, behind her.
“We were very close friends, he would come to my house and sit in my garden. He was really a bit like a brother, we were close.
“My little boy called him ‘the strong man’, he loved him, thinking he was the best thing ever. Then it all happened.”
She added: “He didn’t get away with what he did. He has jail time rather than a suspension.
“I think I would have been sick knowing he did this to me and was still walking as usual.”
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