Victim tells court how rock through windscreen left him with brain injury
Patrick Garrett rarely goes out any more,
embarrassed and uncomfortable about the deep scars in his forehead
caused by a rock that smashed through his windscreen and knocked
him unconscious while driving.
A painter by trade, Mr Garrett, known as "Patty", was on his way
home from work on the New England Highway near Glen Innes, in
northern NSW, when a group of five people being chased by police
threw a stone out the window of their Holden Commodore into
The rock penetrated the windscreen of Mr Garrett's
four-wheel-drive and struck him on the head, pushing bone and rock
into his brain. His father, Steve, who was in the passenger seat,
managed to bring the vehicle under control and to a stop two
kilometres down the road.
"In those few seconds everything I was and my future were
absolutely changed," Mr Garrett told the Sydney District Court on
The now 30-year-old underwent nine hours of emergency brain
surgery in which a metal plate was inserted into his skull. He was
placed in an induced coma for almost two weeks, suffered 22 days of
post-traumatic amnesia and spent months in rehabilitation. He has a
permanent brain injury, reduced eyesight, fatigue, little sense of
taste and no sense of smell.
"Before suffering this unprovoked attack on me I was fit and
healthy, I loved motorbike riding, swimming, hiking and camping. I
also enjoyed going out and socialising," he said in a victim impact
statement read out by his brother, Shane.
He can no longer work full time, cannot drive alone, ride a
motorbike or go hiking.
"I have visible scars on my forehead that will be there for life.
It is uncomfortable and embarrassing when people stare at my
forehead when talking to me. I rarely go out any more and don't
socialise with my friends very often," he said.
"Life as I knew it was over."
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