Demolition man escapes jail after assault, claiming “misplaced guilt” over Didcot disaster.
A demolition man has avoided a custodial sentence following an assault that left another man with a fractured skull after claiming that his life had spiralled downwards following the Didcot disaster.
In the early hours of 5 May 2017 at The County pub in Rotherham, John Smith hit David Still with what was described in court as “a haymaker” punch that left Still with a fractured skull.
Smith continued to dance for several minutes while Still lay unconscious on the ground. According to the Rotherham Advertiser, Still would subsequently be placed in an induced coma for a week as a result of the injuries he sustained in the attack.
Despite admitting causing grievous bodily harm, John Smith escaped a jail sentence after claiming that his life was “turned on its head” by the Didcot disaster. Mitigating, Dermot Hughes said that Smith was scheduled to be working at the Didcot A power station on 23 February 2016, the day the boiler house collapsed killing four demolition workers. However, as it was his birthday, Smith swapped shifts with a family member who was among those killed in the disaster. Hughes further claimed that Smith had suffered feelings of misplaced guilt and had “self-medicated” with alcohol rather than seeking counselling.
But as Smith escaped jail, anger has been growing online over his use of the Didcot disaster as a defence. In one post on the Facebook social media platform, it is claimed that Smith was not scheduled to be working at Didcot at the time of the incident and that he had been fired several months prior to the disaster that claimed the lives of Michael Collings, John Shaw, Kenneth Cresswell, and Christopher Huxtable.
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