A man who has already served five years in prison for plunging a screwdriver into the head of a Tesco worker has now been convicted of murder for the same attack.
Leigh Clift, 31, attacked Jonathan Barton in a pub car park in Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, in 2000, leaving the victim severely brain damaged.
Mr Barton spent the rest of his life in and out of hospital, unable to speak or even feed himself, and eventually died in 2009.
Clift was found guilty of grievous bodily harm in 2002, but has now been found guilty of murder after doctors ruled his victim’s death was a result of the horrendous attack nine years earlier.
Mr Barton was described by his family as a good boy with a caring nature, before the random pub attack.
Clift, of Lincolnshire Close, Bletchley, was convicted at Aylesbury Crown Court in January 2002.
The original trial heard that Mr Barton, then 19, became embroiled in an argument with his killer outside The Beacon pub in Bletchley.
The argument escalated and Clift was later seen with a screwdriver in his hand and Jonathan lying on the ground bleeding from his head.
Clift ran off, discarding the screwdriver and a top he had been wearing.
After being rushed to hospital, it was discovered that a wound from the screwdriver had passed through the left side of Mr Barton’s head and into his brain and across to the right side.
He was to spend the rest of his life in hospitals, rehabilitation units and at home, where he had to be fed through a tube inserted into his stomach.
He was unable to feed himself and his only way of communicating was moving his face or hands.
After Jonathan’s death in 2009, Clift was arrested and in January of this year charged with murder.
It followed medical findings that despite the length of time between the attack and Jonathan’s death, he had died as a result of the injuries sustained at the time.
Outside the court, Jonathan’s mother Kim Barton, flanked by her three other sons, Aaron, 25, James, 31 and Anthony, 27, said: ‘We are so relieved this ordeal is over. It’s justice for Jonathan, but there are no winners.’
Earlier in the court’s public gallery after the jury returned it’s verdict, she had passed a box of tissues to the young woman partner of Clift, who sobbed uncontrollably.
Ms Barton, who had her home converted to look after her son, and who became his full time carer, said: ‘Now we just want Jonathan to rest in peace. We will try to re-build our lives even though there a gaping great hole that he left behind.’
She added: ‘I am just so grateful we had him all that time after what happened. He gave us moments of complete joy with his smile and he has left us with some beautiful memories.”
Mr Justice Saunders adjourned the sentenced until a later date.
The judge said ‘a life sentence’ would be passed but he said he needed time to consider how long Clift must serve behind bars.
‘This is an unusual situation and I will get all the help I can,’ he said before Clift was remanded in custody. He will be sentenced in the near future.
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