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Journalist left in coma by Kentish Town man may never return to work

PUBLISHED: 14:27 11 January 2016 | UPDATED: 14:27 11 January 2016

Victim Gary Carter (Picture: Central News)

Victim Gary Carter (Picture: Central News)

Archant

A popular sports journalist left in a coma following a vicious assault may never return to reporting following an assault by a Kentish Town man.

Gary Carter, 36, a freelance rugby league reporter who works for The Sun, was knocked to the pavement after a punch by James Flanagan, 35.

The assault by Flanagan, of Marsden Street, happened in November, when Mr Carter had travelled to London for the England v New Zealand test match.

Flanagan admitted causing grevous bodily harm after the attack outside Bethnal Green Tube station.

Mr Carter had to have surgery to remove a blood clot on his brain.

Snaresbrook Crown Court heard the victim suffered brain damage and can only walk with “significant assistance”.

Lucy Organ, prosecuting, said: “I was told by a family member that on Friday he was attempting to use a Biro and struggled significantly with that.”

She said the family home would have to be redeveloped should Mr Carter eventually return there.

“Whether he will be able to undertake any employment is simply unknown,” said Ms Organ.

Support flooded in for Mr Carter and his wife Gemma from the likes of England coach Steve McNamara and football hero Alan Shearer while he lay in an induced coma.

Flanagan was due to be sentenced on Monday, but the case was put back for a month for further reports to be prepared.

Abigail Penny, defending, said Flanagan was “visibly moved” when told of Mr Carter’s “good progress”.

“He is devastated for having caused this terrible injury to Mr Carter,” she said.

“Mr Flanagan is desperately sorry for what he has done and understands the gravity of it immediately.”

Judge David Radford warned Flanagan that “immediate custody is a very likely outcome”.

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