Thug jailed for life for 'sickening' house party attack on victim who died 12 years later

·3-min read
(L-R) Alec Driver before and after the attack. See SWNS story SWLEmurder. A violent thug has been jailed for life for attacking a man after a party so viciously he was left in a vegetative state for 12 years before his death.  Boozed up Mark Cranfield jumped on Alec Driver's head with both feet after knocking him to the floor and booting him in the face after a house party in February 2007. Tragically, Mr Driver was left in a vegetive state until his death in April 2019 aged 41. Cranfield, now 38, was jailed at Preston Crown Court on Friday after pleading guilty to murder. He had previously been spent 14 years in jail for attempted murder.
Alec Driver before, left, and after the attack by Mark Cranfield that left him in a vegetative state, before his death in 2019. (SWNS)

A man has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering a partygoer in a vicious attack that left his victim in a vegetative state for more than a decade.

Mark Cranfield was sentenced at Preston Crown Court last Friday following the death of Alec Driver in April 2019.

Twelve years previously, in February 2007, Cranfield jumped on Mr Driver’s head with both feet after knocking him to the floor and kicking him in the face after a house party in Horsebridge Road, Blackpool, Lancashire.

Mr Driver, 41, never regained consciousness and was left in a vegetative state and unable to communicate by the attack. He was discharged from hospital into a long-term care facility in June 2007 and died 12 years later.

Following the attack, Cranfield, 38, pleaded guilty to attempted murder and was jailed in December 2007 for a minimum term of nine years, going on to serve 14 years.

Alec Driver after the attack. See SWNS story SWLEmurder. A violent thug has been jailed for life for attacking a man after a party so viciously he was left in a vegetative state for 12 years before his death.  Boozed up Mark Cranfield jumped on Alec Driver's head with both feet after knocking him to the floor and booting him in the face after a house party in February 2007. Tragically, Mr Driver was left in a vegetive state until his death in April 2019 aged 41. Cranfield, now 38, was jailed at Preston Crown Court on Friday after pleading guilty to murder. He had previously been spent 14 years in jail for attempted murder.
Alec Driver was the victim of a "sickening" attack, police said. (SWNS)

Following Mr Driver’s death, Cranfield was charged with murder in April 2020. A post-mortem examination and further expert pathological examination established Mr Driver had died as a direct consequence of the injuries inflicted by Cranfield 12 years earlier.

Last week, Cranfield was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 21 years. But given he has served more than 14 years for attempted murder, he was given a minimum term of three years and 123 days. He will remain on life licence.

Mr Driver was at the home of his partner and he tried to leave in the early hours of 21 February, 2007, but Cranfield, who had been drinking heavily, was aggressive towards him then pushed him down the stairs.

Once outside, Cranfield punched Mr Driver to the ground then kicked and stamped on his head, before jumping and landing on his head with both feet.

Police said Cranfield returned to the flat and boasted of what he done. He returned to Mr Driver on more than one occasion to inflict further violence.

Help was called after a neighbour found Mr Driver unconscious on the pavement and he was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital with serious injuries.

Detective inspector Mark Dickinson from Blackpool CID said: “The level of violence displayed by Cranfield when he attacked Alec Driver on Horsebridge Road in February 2007 was sickening. 

Alec Driver before the attack. See SWNS story SWLEmurder. A violent thug has been jailed for life for attacking a man after a party so viciously he was left in a vegetative state for 12 years before his death.  Boozed up Mark Cranfield jumped on Alec Driver's head with both feet after knocking him to the floor and booting him in the face after a house party in February 2007. Tragically, Mr Driver was left in a vegetive state until his death in April 2019 aged 41. Cranfield, now 38, was jailed at Preston Crown Court on Friday after pleading guilty to murder. He had previously been spent 14 years in jail for attempted murder.
Alec Driver before the attack in 2007. (SWNS)

“The sentence passed down reflects how anyone capable of such a brutal and mindless act of violence should be either held in custody, or be subject to monitoring by the Probation Service, for the rest of their lives.

“The lasting impact of this crime, not only on Alec Driver, but also on his family and friends, is terrible. I have nothing but admiration for the quiet dignity with which Alec’s sisters and brother have conducted themselves over the last 14 years. 

"I hope that this conviction and sentence can offer them some sense of closure.”

In a statement, Mr Driver’s family said he lost his mother at 13 and his brother a short time afterwards.

“Alec had his flaws which he would freely admit to, however, he had a kind soul and a generous heart who would give you his last penny,” his family said. 

“Our one consolation as a family is that he outlived our father who prayed daily for him just to hear his voice.

“Alec is much loved and greatly missed by his family.”

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