Army officer left with ‘traumatic brain injury’ after Louth assault

Lincoln Crown Court
Lincoln Crown Court

The career of a senior army officer has been left hanging in the balance after he suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of being assaulted at a New Year’s Eve party, Lincoln Crown Court was told today (Wednesday).

Major Andrew Heckles was initially thought to have only suffered minor injuries after he was struck by Adam Powell during an incident at the party in High Holme Road, Louth.

But, subsequently, he was found to have brain injuries which has affected his speech and hearing.

Kevin Jones, prosecuting, said “It was a New Year’s Eve house party. The defendant met Mr Heckles for the first time on that occasion.

“During the evening everything seemed to be going fine. They had a lot in common.

“Drink was taken and during the early morning an incident occurred where Powell struck Mr Heckles blows to the head causing what was initially thought to be bruising to the left side of his face, but as a consequence there was a traumatic brain injury.

“Mr Heckles was and is a Major in the Army and had a specific role.

“He is still having ongoing treatment and is only able to work four hours a day. He suffered a traumatic brain injury. The consequences include a lack of concentration. He now has a stutter. There are hearing defects and a visual defect.

“There has been an improvement with rehabilitation work and courses. His balance has improved and he is developing strategies to deal with word finding and his speech but everything is slower.

“He anticipates that should he not be medically discharged he may be able to stay within the Army. That will be for a Medical Board to decide in March of next year.

“He won’t be able to return to the role he had before. The impact is very significant on him.”

Powell, 36, of Braintree, Essex, admitted a charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm to Andrew Heckles in the early hours of January 1 this year. He was given an 18 month jail sentence suspended for two years.

Recorder Gareth Evans QC told him: “I have read the reports prepared on your behalf.

“Your life has not been easy. You have seen things no man should see and you have had to live through it. You are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. You must have treatment.”

The court was told that Powell has no previous convictions.

Donal Lawler, in mitigation, said “This is a tragedy for all parties involved.

“No-one, least of all Mr Powell, wanted this to happen.

“He is not a man who will be going to appear before the courts again.

“He needs to get proper help for his post traumatic stress disorder which was for so long undiagnosed.”