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Independent and loving family man left ‘a different person’ after attack

The daughter of a senior who suffered brain injuries after an unprovoked attack said the incident had torn her family apart.

Tiffany Smith told the Supreme Court yesterday that her father, Herndon, used to be an independent and loving family man — but was now “a different person” and would need 24-hour care for the rest of his life.

She said: “He is very confused and conversations are repetitive for hours on end.

“He has gone from a calm, mild-mannered man to a very aggressive individual who is easily agitated and prone to saying extremely hurtful things.”

Ms Smith, who was speaking during the sentencing of Alvin Leverock, added: “My nephew has to see a school counsellor because my dad was once totally immersed in his life but is now no longer there.

“My niece would break down in class because she knew something bad had happened to him.

“My son, who is only 2, will not be able to fully enjoy his grandfather’s time because of Alvin Leverock’s actions.”

Leverock, 43, earlier admitted wounding Mr Smith, 70, on New Year’s Day, 2020.

The court heard that a woman found Mr Smith lying unresponsive on the ground on Reid Street near the Washington Mall and called the police.

He was taken to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and treated for multiple brain bleeds and a fractured skull, as well as swelling to the side of his face.

Mr Smith was later airlifted to the Lahey Hospital and Medical Centre in Massachusetts for surgery.

Police officers reviewed CCTV footage from the area, which showed Leverock standing around Reid Street and starting a conversation with Mr Smith before he suddenly punched the victim to the ground and leaving on his bicycle.

Officers released still photographs from the footage to the public and a woman contacted police the following day and identified him as Leverock, who was arrested and put in an identification parade where the witness confirmed his identity.

Ms Smith said that before the incident her father was “a quiet man who kept to himself” and “was totally self-reliant”.

She added that he was once very active in his grandchildren’s lives, who knew him as “Papa Don”.

“Whether it was babysitting, taking them on ferry rides, picking them up from school or taking them to their after-school activities, Papa Don was there.”

But she added: “Due to Mr Leverock’s malicious actions, Papa Don can no longer be able to physically do those things on his own.”

Ms Smith said that her father was now paralysed on his left side and suffered bouts of nausea and headaches.

She added that he now became aggressive and confused, to the point where “even the sound of his grandkids playing and having a good time irritates him”.

Ms Smith said her father was now wheelchair-bound and needed assistance with daily activities such as maintaining his hygiene.

She added that the family could not afford a personal caretaker and that they had to look after him themselves, which often took a toll on the family’s health.

Ms Smith said: “I’ve had to watch my sister’s health deteriorate because she’s unable to cope with what has happened.

“She is now on medication and has to see a psychologist.

“My brother is barely keeping it together and I suffer from migraines daily.”

Ms Smith also read the victim impact statement of her brother, Malachi, who wrote that his father can “no longer live a normal life”.

He added: “He must now be confined to his own home like a child.

“My father deserves his life back. He — we — deserve justice.”

Nicole Smith, for the Crown, said that Leverock suffered from a “severe personality disorder” and had a history of violence brought on by delusions.

She suggested that he be given a hospital order under the Mental Health Act 1968 and receive treatment on island or overseas.

Charles Richardson, for the defence, agreed with the Crown.

Justice Juan Wolffe adjourned the case until July 11 so that counsel can research where Leverock can receive treatment and for an updated psychological assessment. He remanded Leverock in custody.

It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding criminal court cases. This is to prevent any statements being published that may jeopardise the outcome of that case.