The family of a man left seriously injured after trying to stop a thief steal his car have spoken out after his attacker was today convicted.

Nicholas Cork, 32, from Holman Court Plymouth, was jailed for three years and 11 months after he pleaded guilty at Plymouth Crown Court to causing grievous bodily harm (GBH) without intent, aggravated vehicle taking and driving while disqualified. He was acquitted of GBH with intent.

Cork seriously injured Unite the Union member Geoffrey Hazeldene, 59, when stealing his car from outside a newsagent on Melrose Avenue, Plymouth.

Mr Hazeldene, an electrician, had parked his car outside the shop to collect a newspaper on his morning commute to work at Devonport Dockyard.

When he came out of the shop Cork was sat in his driver’s seat. Mr Hazeldene tried to remonstrate with Cork and asked him not to take his car. In response Cork drove straight at him.

Mr Hazeldene clung to the Vauxhall Astra’s bonnet for 50 yards but fell off and struck his head against the kerb.

Fighting for his life with a fractured skull, punctured lung and broken ribs

He was left fighting for his life with a fractured skull, punctured lung and broken ribs. After brain surgery he has been left with a serious brain injury.

His wife Shirley, who has given up work to look after him, said about the court’s verdict: “This man ruined my husband’s life and has devastated our family. He drove straight at him and left him for dead.”

“Geoffrey’s injuries mean he needs care and supervision and is unlikely to fully recover. We have to live with the consequences of what Cork did for the rest of our lives and we hope he is never allowed to destroy another life in this way.”

Unite the Union is helping the family in their civil claim. John Bennett Unite the Union convenor at Babcocks Plymouth said: “I have known Geoff for over 30 years, this was an appalling incident which turned the life of our member and his family upside down. We will support Mr Hazeldene and his family in every way we can.”

Lisa Gunner from Thompsons Solicitors who is representing the family in a civil case added: “We will continue to advise and assist the family in every way possible as they come to terms with Geoffrey’s injuries and the effect on their lives.”