'I'm a victim of someone else's problems'

As he looked across from his hospital bed to see 23 year-old Michael McEwen lying in a coma, Greg Griffin started questioning what was happening in Sydney.

Himself allegedly a victim of a "coward's punch" that has left him with the possibility of brain damage, Mr Griffin is struggling to come to terms with the level of anger and violence.

"We live in a country where anything is possible," he said. "There is a way to get a job, there is a way to get help, there is a way to get through life without having to be like that. There's no excuse for all this violence."

Mr Griffin finally returned to his Darlinghurst home on Tuesday after three weeks in St Vincent's Hospital. He is awaiting treatment at Ryde Hospital to see if he has lasting brain damage from a single punch to the head on December 19.

The 38-year-old hairdressing salon owner had ducked into Hungry Jacks on Oxford Street, Darlinghurst about 10pm, on his way home from a 12-hour shift, when he was verbally abused by a stranger, police allege.

As Mr Griffin was walking out of the fast food store, Patrick Gardner, 27, allegedly punched him once in the side of the head, causing him to collapse on the pavement unconscious.

He spent most of his time in hospital in the same room as Mr McEwen, who was king-hit in Bondi five days earlier and was in a coma for a week.

"After looking at Michael and seeing how much more he was suffering, it disturbed me thinking about why people have to drink so much and why they're so angry," Mr Griffin said. "How could someone be so angry that they want to knock me out for five days? That's the question that still bugs me. There are so many positive places in the city to get help night or day, why are people still acting like this?"

His Christmas holiday plans were ruined but Mr Griffin has been in high spirits, thanks to constant visits by colleagues from John Azzi salon in Manly and the realisation things could be worse.

He has constant throbbing pain and numbness in his head and is still disoriented and unsettled.

He has no memory of the assault, the lead-up or the next week he spent in intensive care.

"I'm just a victim of someone else's problems," he said. "But there's enough negative things in life and I'm trying not to focus on another one."


One-punch victim Greg Griffin. Picture: Dallas Kilponen

One-punch victim Greg Griffin. Picture: Dallas Kilponen


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