A crime victim has told how a vicious street mugging saved his life – when doctors found a brain tumour while treating his wounds.
Gardener Iain Petrie, 33, was punched to the ground and had a knife held to his throat by a gang of thugs who slashed his leg in an alleyway.
A routine CT scan revealed a lesion on his brain and subsequent MRI scans showed a 2cm tumour on top of his head.
Iain underwent emergency surgery to remove the growth – and has now made a full recovery.
The four thugs who attacked him – aged between 14 and 33 – have now been convicted at Bristol Crown Court, with one of them jailed for eight years.
Iain said: ”I was a bit surprised to hear about my brain, and a little concerned about having the operation.
”But I thought it was nothing to worry about and better let them sort it out now rather than have problems later.
”I felt fine afterwards and I wasn’t in any pain. I was in hospital for a week and then went to stay with my mum and dad so they could keep an eye on me.”
His mother Anne, 58, says she bears no grudge against the culprits – and says they did him a favour.
The university librarian said: ”In a strange way it was meant to happen – it was fate. He only had the CT scan because of the fracture to his cheek.
”I just couldn’t believe that within weeks of the attack suddenly we were going through major brain surgery.
”But I can’t hate them. They shouldn’t have done it but as it was it did some good really and in a way they did Iain a favour.”
The attack happened on June 18 last year after Iain, who has learning difficulties, had been to watch England play Algeria in the World Cup at a pub in central Bristol.
He got chatting to the gang who invited him back to their flat near the M32 motorway, but they robbed him in an alleyway shortly after leaving the pub.
They punched him to the ground – kicking him and slashing his right calf open which required 17 stitches – before stealing his wallet containing just £15.
Iain also suffered a fractured cheekbone underneath his right eye.
A passing policeman took him to the Bristol Royal Infirmary, where doctors carried out a scan to make sure his fractured cheekbone had not caused an knock-on complications.
Remarkably, Iain’s family say the operation has improved his life and say he now has more energy and is far more alert and engaged.
Mrs Petrie, of Bradley Stoke, Bristol, said: ”He had no symptoms before the incident but was quite tired, we just thought it was from his job as a gardener which is quite physical.
”But we were told the tumour was affecting the flow of blood to the brain which could have explained it.
”After the op though he is not falling asleep so much and is not as tired, he is looking after his flat better and he is more aware of what is going on. It’s made such a difference.
”He’s really got into his cooking now too and for the first time he’s invited us as a family over for dinner.”
Iain was back at his own flat near his mother’s house within two weeks and soon back to work.
His attackers, all from Bristol, were jailed last week at Bristol Crown Court after admitting to the attack.
Wayne Swinford, 27, was jailed for eight years for grevious bodily harm with intent, robbery and affray.
Thomas Carroll, 33, was jailed for nine months, suspended for two years, given a four month curfew and will be made to do 200 hours unpaid work.
A 17-year-old male admitted robbery and a 14-year-old boy admitted GBH with intent, robbery and affray. Both are yet to be sentenced.