A split-second act of violence shattered Danny Hodgson’s life.
When the soccer player went in to shake hands, the stranger had other intentions.
The 16-year-old clenched his fist in preparation then he delivered the punch.
He ran away while his victim bled on the ground.
“I was shocked about how Danny hit the ground and how somebody just ran away and left him,” his mother Nicola Hodgson said.
The attack left the 26-year-old with a catastrophic brain injury.
His parents rushed from the other side of the world to be with him and haven’t left his side.
His family was in court today to see his attacker learn his punishment.
“He shouldn’t have been on the streets, he had so many cases against him that he shouldn’t have been walking, constantly committing crimes,” dad Peter Hodgson said.
The teenager was on bail for 23 charges when he attacked Mr Hodgson.
The judge said he’d gone off the rails since moving to Perth and he went from a child who’d never been in trouble to “seven months of mayhem”.
This included loitering in the city, stealing alcohol, repeatedly breaching bail and curfew and attacking strangers for no reason.
Prosecutors said what happened to Danny Hodgson was “as bad as it gets without dying”.
They called on the judge to impose the maximum penalty of 10 years in jail.
However, Danny’s parents said the boy, like their son, had been let down by the system.
“We’ve got to remember this guy was (a teenager),” Ms Hodgson said.
“We’re just hoping that rehabilitation will do him justice and he’ll come out a better person.”
The teen was sentenced to three-and-a-half years.
Mr Hodgson’s sentence has been described as ongoing as he continues a slow and painful road to recovery.
“We would be happy with any amount of time you know but we’ve just got to try and move on from it now and get Danny back on track,” his girlfriend Jessica Pollock said.