Corby man died 14 years after chilling nightclub attack

The inquest was held at County Hall in Northampton.
The inquest was held at County Hall in Northampton.

A Corby man died almost 14 years on from a savage nightclub attack that left him in a vegetative stage, an inquest heard.

Frank Gillespie was set upon outside Madison’s in May 2002, leaving him with an 8in gash that a paramedic described as the ‘worst head wound he’d seen in 30 years’.

The attack left him unable to communicate and needing round-the-clock care with a life expectancy of less than 10 years.

He was moved to specialist care home Badby Park near Daventry in 2010 but died on January 10, 2016, aged 53.

Dr Frances Hollingbury, who carried out the post-mortem examination, said it was not possible to say with any certainty that the specific cause of Frank’s death, which was unknown, related to the injuries he suffered.

But Frank’s twin brother James Gillespie said: “I think anybody that knows anything about Frank’s case knows he would be here today if it was not for the attack in 2002.”

The inquest in Northampton yesterday (Wednesday) heard that Frank’s overall condition had deteriorated since the summer of 2015.

He was prone to chest infections, often required oxygen, required nebulisers four times a day and caught pneumonia three times.

He also had post-traumatic epilepsy and would often have seizures or cluster seizures.

The 2002 incident, which involved a baseball bat and razor blade, was described as ‘chillingly calculated’ when Mr Gillespie’s attackers were jailed over the culmination of a long-running feud.

Jacqueline Magee was jailed for eight years in 2004 with James McGrath Snr, Anne McGrath and Scott Martin jailed for seven years.

James McGrath Jnr and Matthew McGrath were jailed for nine and eight years respectively, although their sentences were later cut by a year at London’s Appeal Court.

Four others were found not guilty.

Frank was born in Corby and was one of five children.

He went to St Brendan’s Primary School and Our Lady of Walsingham and Pope John before working in the steel industry.

He lived in the Beanfield area with his partner and son and was proud of his Scottish heritage.

In a statement read out by the coroner, brother James said: “Frank was a very caring and loyal person to his family and friends.

“His passing has left a big hole in our life.”

He added that Frank’s deterioration had been painful and heartbreaking for his family to see.

Senior coroner for Northamptonshire Anne Pember returned a narrative verdict, concluding that it was not possible to give a specific cause of death.