When former student Mark Miller saw his unborn baby girl’s heartbeat on a hospital monitor his life finally made sense.
But just hours after the moment Mark, from Wrexham, describes as the happiest of his life, he was lying in a hospital bed battling brain injuries following a sickening attack by a group of thugs.
The sight of daughter Daisy’s heart beating on the monitor is Mark’s only memory of the day that left him with poor short short-term memory and balance problems following the vicious assault.
It saw the GLP Solicitors’client so badly beaten in the mugging by a gang of three cowardly attackers in Swansea on April 30, 2008, that their kicks left footprints on his body.
After Daisy turned one, Mark split from her mum Emma Goodchild, 31, and left the couple’s Swansea home to return to Wrexham.
But now after a £246,000 compensation payout for the attack from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, Mark, 27, is buying a house in the city he was attacked in so he can be nearer Daisy, three, as she grows up.
“This past couple of years I’ve not been able to be there for her and all I’ve had with her is the odd weekend here and there and the odd phone call and it’s not felt right,” he told Wales on Sunday.
“It’s not felt like I’ve been a proper dad. I know circumstances have been against me, but it’s not felt like I’ve been all for her that I want to be.
“It’s the idea of having somewhere that me and her can call home and where I can wake up in the morning and take her to play school.”
Mark still vividly recollects the moment he saw Daisy’s heart beating and his life changed.
He said: “I looked at the monitor and saw the little heart beat going boom, boom and in that moment I thought, ‘Right no more messing around now – this is life. This is why you’re here son’.
“It was like my life had got a new purpose just from me seeing that.”
Mark, who was studying management science at Swansea University before the attack, has not worked since he began recovering.
The thugs, who, minutes later robbed and assaulted a 14-year-old boy, then went to a nearby playing field where they threw away Mark’s wallet and bragged to other teenagers about having mugged someone.
Meanwhile, Mark was laying in an alleyway unconscious. His battered and bloodied body was found by a neighbour, who frantically dialled 999.
He spent the next 12 days in a coma, fighting for his life in intensive care following the attack by the teenagers aged between 15 and 17.
During his first few weeks in intensive care Mark was struck down with pneumonia and temporarily paralysed down his right side.
Eventually he opened his eyes and gradually began the recovery that now sees him hoping to buy a house in Swansea before the end of the year.
After blasting them for acting like “a pack of wild dogs” a judge at Swansea Crown Court sentenced Mark’s attackers, Alexander Hill and Joshua Lewis, to lengthy jail terms.
Hill got five years and eight months, and Lewis five years and four months in a young offenders’ institution.
Georgie Rees, who admitted robbery, was given a seven-year stretch.
Mark’s biggest concern now is that Government plans to reform the criminal injuries compensation scheme will leave other victims of crime with much less generous pay outs.
He said: “What the Government want to do is change the compensation scheme so there’s no more loss of potential earnings.
“My solicitor worked out that would have turned my £246,000 into about £80,000.”
The Government has said the system needs reforming because up to £75m was paid out to criminals over a 10-year period.
Original article (from Darren Devine) published on Wales Online, 5th August 2012