"I hope lessons have been learned' - Victim of Mansfield assault speaks as attacker released from prison
A Mansfield man who suffered life-changing injuries when he was knocked unconscious after being attacked by a youth worker over alleged racist remarks says that ‘he hopes that lessons have been learned’ on both sides.
The news comes after 23-year-old William Dennis was released from prison after serving just three months of a 14-month sentence.
He was jailed after admitting causing grievous bodily harm to Perry Cranston in Mansfield town centre in February 2020.
Typically, prisoners serve half of their sentence inside before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community under the supervision of the Probation Service.
But a spokesman for the Prison Service said Dennis’ early release on home curfew was routine for the circumstances.
Former youth worker Dennis, described by his defence barrister as a young man who had devoted his life to helping others and had played a significant role in deterring young people away from knife crime and racism, had an appeal against his sentence rejected by the High Court last month.
The incident happened in the hours prior to the Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder fight on February 23 last year when Dennis and Mr Cranston had been out drinking with different groups of friends
Both groups eventually converged on Clumber Street where a group of men huddled under a canopy waiting to make their way home and started talking and ‘bantering’ about the fight.
Mr Cranston then allegedly made a remark about ‘white power’ – something he has always denied – which caused Dennis to ‘see red’ and start swinging punches at the other man, Nottingham Crown Court was told in January when Dennis was initially sentenced.
He then grabbed him by the chest and dragged him into the road, punching him up to nine times – the last one knocking him out cold.
Mr Cranston then fell backwards and hit his head on a kerb, causing bleeding to the brain.
He was rushed to King’s Mill Hospital before being transferred to intensive care at Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre, where medics battled to save his life following a major bleed to the brain.
Mr Cranston has been left with memory problems and had to wear a helmet to protect his skull after a steel plate fitted by surgeons had to be removed when it became infected.
Speaking after Dennis' release, Mr Cranston said: "Obviously, I was a little shocked at the news, as the appeal was denied only four weeks ago.
"He served just three months of a 14-month sentence – I spent longer than that in hospital.
"The key thing for me though is that I want to move forward now and put this behind me.
"I still have recovery to do and further surgery planned later this year, and I hope that lessons have been learned by all involved."
After his arrest, Dennis, 23, of Kempton Road, Mansfield, told police he had been a life-long victim of racism and, as a youth worker, had always told others to walk away.
A spokesman for the Prison Service said: “Offenders released on Home Detention Curfew are strictly supervised through the use of electronic monitoring and can be returned to prison for breaching their licence conditions.”
The Dennis family were contacted but declined to comment on the release.