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Attack victim expected to return to Sault soon

Tuesday, May 06, 2014   by: Michael Purvis

A father of one who was hospitalized with a life-threatening head injury after what police have described as an early-morning attack three days ago, says he’s looking forward to coming home to see his son.

“Today was a lot better overall,” said Nick Hunter, 25, in a phone interview from hospital in Sudbury.

“I can walk around. I can see better, I can talk better.”

One man has been arrested and charged with aggravated assault after the incident, which police say happened around 4 a.m. Saturday in the Trunk Road and Gibbs Street area.

Police say a male punched the victim in the side of the head.

Hunter had been on a rare ‘dad’s night out’ that night with friends and was supposed to be walking a short distance home when the incident occurred, said his partner, Shayna Gilbert, who has been in Sudbury by Hunter’s side since the incident.

Gilbert said she woke to find Hunter hadn’t come home and came on the scene as paramedics were loading him on a stretcher.

“I was terrified. I thought I lost my son’s father and the love of my life,” she said.

Hunter had a fractured skull and was transferred from SAH to hospital in Sudbury, where he received emergency brain surgery and later regained consciousness, said Gilbert.

“Hearing him say my name was probably the happiest moment of my life,” she said.

Gilbert said Hunter was moved from intensive care today and is expected to be transported back to the Sault on Wednesday.

He’s doing better - he’s walking and talking and his vision looks good so far - but the long-term effects are unknown, she said.

“It was serious. The nurses say he’s the luckiest guy in the hospital,” Gilbert said.

Hunter said he hasn’t seen their son Ryker since the incident, and is looking forward to seeing the 15-month-old when he returns to the Sault.

“He’s a family man. He loves his son. He’s absolutely devastated that he can’t see him right now,” said Gilbert, noting the motive for the alleged attack is unclear.

Robert Atkinson, 20, of Glengary Gate Crescent, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault Sunday after turning himself in to city police.

He was to have appeared in bail court on Monday morning.

Previous coverage of this story:

Police seek witnesses to a serious assault (updated: suspects identified)

(PHOTO: Nick Hunter, 25, and his partner, Shayna Gilbert, 25, are pictured in a family photo)

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