'One punch can kill' - police warn it only takes a split second to kill or be killed in new campaign

Lincolnshire Police have launched a campaign to tackle single punch assaults which can have a devastating impact.

Gediminas Vaitkus of Boston died after a one punch assault

The force’s #OnePunchCanKill comes after the deaths of two men in the county – including one from Boston - in 2020 and another man left brain damaged.

Gediminas Vaitkus, 43, of Tunnard Street, Boston, died after a one punch assault in Red Lion Street in the town last July.

Danny Maguire, 34, of Retford, also died a week after suffering a serious head injury in a one punch assault at a pub in Grantham.

Danny Maguire

In both cases, their attackers were jailed for manslaughter.

And another one punch assault victim, Mark Hatcher, 47, was left brain damaged an assault in the street near the Black Bull in Donington.

Launching the campaign, Detective Chief Inspector Richard Myszczyszyn, of East Midlands Special Operations Unit, said: “The ‘One Punch Can Kill’ campaign reminds people that in a split second a person can become a killer or be killed.

“What can start out as a fun night drinking with friends can easily turn into a nightmare. Just one punch can ruin the lives of both the victim and the person who throws the punch.

DCI Richard Myszczyszyn

“Lincolnshire Police is committed to tackling violent crime and we will continue our efforts to reduce the numbers of victims, but we need people to play their part by thinking about their actions before they get involved in a fight.

“One action can mean the difference between your family visiting you in prison or coming to say their final goodbyes to you in the intensive care unit. If you face confrontation whilst out, please remember the sensible thing is to turn around and walk away.”

Melanie Spate, sister of Mr Maguire, said: “My brother went out after work for a drink on February 28 2020. He had a heated discussion with a man in a pub beer garden later on that evening.

“The man walked away and then turned around and decided to punch my brother in the face. My brother fell back, hit his head and was knocked unconscious. He never woke up again. A week later he died in hospital from his injuries.

“My family and I spent every day at the hospital with him hoping and praying he would survive. It has absolutely broken us as a family.

“I am so proud of my brother as he was an organ donor. His death meant he was able to help three men by donating both his kidneys and his heart.

“My parents are broken. They cannot bear to talk about anything that has happened. My Mum is heartbroken.

“I genuinely do not know how my family, or I will ever be the same again. A senseless act that has left a young boy without his Daddy and for what? I urge people to think about how their actions can change people’s lives in seconds.

“What can start out as a fun night drinking with friends can easily turn into a nightmare that can ruin so many lives. Please, if you ever face confrontation be the better person and walk away.”

Luke Templeman, 29, of Launder Terrace, Grantham, was last year sentenced to four yearsand eight months imprisonment after admitting to the manslaughter of Mr Maguire.

Hikmet Maez, 19, of Spilsby Road, Boston, pleaded guilty to the charge of manslaughter of Mr Vaitkus and was sentenced to three years in prison.

And Paul Hayes, 47, of Donington, was jailed for three years for assault after the attack on Mr Hatcher.