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Paul Bustin hospitalised by friend in Wooburn Green attack
A DAD is still in hospital 14 months after being attacked by his ‘friend’ in Wooburn Green, a court heard.
Matthew Wojtowicz carried out the assault after Paul Bustin made a 'disgusting comment' about his mum, the prosecutor said.
The 39-year-old had approached Wojtowicz and his mother at Wooburn Green Working Men’s Club and said he wanted to have sex with her, jurors were told.
The pair, who had known each other for about 20 years and had both been drinking, then went outside and Mr Bustin was punched by Wojtowicz before his head hit the concrete floor, Aylesbury Crown Court heard on Wednesday.
A bystander said Wojtowicz punched Mr Bustin five times before he hit the floor.
Mr Bustin, the smaller of the two, was in a coma for around three weeks and has remained in hospital since the incident last year.
He will “require assistance for the rest of his life”, the court heard, and was unable to appear in court.
See below for reaction from Mr Bustin's family.
Wojtowicz, a 37-year-old non-league footballer, denied unlawfully wounding him, but faces a jail sentence after the jury found him guilty yesterday.
He was at a family party at the club on April 2 last year, while Mr Bustin, who was described by the court as his friend, had been drinking in the club’s public bar.
Wojtowicz, who at one stage broke down in the witness box, said: “You don’t say that sort of disgusting language to people’s mums.
“He didn’t give me no apology whatsoever. I know he likes a wind-up but you don’t wind someone up like that do you? “I only punched him the once. I didn’t really want to hit him...I was angry.”
He admitted initially pushing Mr Bustin, but said he punched the dad-of-two in self-defence, as he thought Mr Bustin might hit him with a beer bottle he was holding.
After the incident family members told Wojtowicz to leave, so he walked to his then home in Wooburn Green and watched football on TV.
When he was arrested a few hours later he told officers that Mr Bustin “shouldn’t have said what he said”, the court heard.
And when interviewed the next day he said Mr Bustin had apologised after making the comment, jurors heard.
Wojtowicz, of Abercromby Avenue, High Wycombe, accepted this is what he told officers, but told the court he was feeling “pressurised” in the interview and officers were “putting words into my mouth”.
He added: “I did not cause this. He’s the one who came in a private party and said he wanted to do my mum.”
The court heard Sam Rutter, who was waiting for a taxi outside the club, was the “only independent witness”, as he did not know either man.
He said Mr Bustin emptied his beer bottle after being punched once, but said he was then hit another four times before hitting the floor.
Wojtowicz’s uncle Gary Fenn also saw the incident, telling jurors Mr Bustin had ‘confronted’ his nephew after being pushed. However, he accepted that his statement to police the following day said Mr Bustin did not make a move towards Wojtowicz.
The jury returned a majority guilty verdict 11-1, after deliberating for nearly three-and-a-half hours. Wojtowicz will be sentenced after July 5.
PAUL Bustin’s family have spoken of their pain in coming to terms with his life-changing injuries over the last year.
The dad-of-two ran his own business in High Wycombe, but his family say he will never be able to work again.
The keen footballer, who played for the King George V pub team, is still recovering in Amersham Hospital following the incident.
Brother-in-law Chris Bampton said: “The last fourteen months have been particularly trying for everyone connected to Paul particularly his family and vast network of friends.
“It is good to get closure on the uncertainty associated with the case against Matthew and after much speculation finally understand a little more about what actually went on that night.
“The family would like to thank everyone for their support in getting to where we are today.
“Paul’s fight against the injuries he sustained that dreadful night continue and we’d like to thank the surgeons, doctors, nurses and everyone working in the hospital community for their support. We owe them a big debt.
“Regarding the comment that Paul was alleged to have said, unfortunately given his injuries he is unable to state if he did or did not say these things.
“However, Paul was a fun-loving person with a character that liked to humour people and I’m confident that any comment he made has been taken totally out of context and he would not have meant for it to be insulting to anyone concerned.
“Unfortunately Matthew’s reaction to these apparent comments has led to life-changing and tragic circumstances for all concerned.”
Mr Bustin’s daughter Charlie, 16, said: “It’s been really hard over the past 14 months. It’s like he’s a different person and it’s hard to see him as your dad."
Daughter Eloise Anstiss, 20, paid tribute to her dad saying: “Anyone would tell you he’s a really loving and outgoing dad. He couldn’t do enough for anybody and he has always done everything he could for us and the family.”