RELATED COVERAGE: Locked up for rock rampage
Patrick Garrett rarely goes out anymore, 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 when a gang of five being chased by police threw a stone out the window of their Holden Commodore into oncoming traffic.
One of the rocks penetrated the windscreen of his 4WD and struck him on the head.
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.
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 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 readout by his brother Shane.
He can no longer work full-time, can’t 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 anymore and don’t socialise with my friends very often,” he said. “Life as I knew it was over.”