The partner of a man left in a coma by a Highland League star says he has been left a “different person” who struggles to hold his new born child.
Father-of-three James Noble is due for scans this week over fears he may have suffered permanent brain damage in the brutal assault by Jamie Masson – which also robbed him of his hearing in one ear.
And partner Linzy Davidson said the punishment handed to former Dons prospect Masson – a £450 fine – was “disgusting”.
Masson, who now plies his trade with Formartine United, punched Mr Noble, 34, outside Deejays Nightclub in Fraserburgh in the early hours of September 11 last year.
The electrician cracked his head on the ground as he fell, fracturing his skull and causing a blood clot.
He was rushed to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary where he was placed in a medically-induced coma for 10 days and had two procedures to relieve pressure on his brain.
In April Masson admitted assaulting Mr Noble but has always maintained he had been provoked.
Last week the football player – who wants to pursue a career in America – was fined £450.
An angry Ms Davidson condemned the sentence as she spoke out for the first time about the impact the crime has had on the young family.
The 32-year-old says Mr Noble now struggles with daily life and has not been able to return to work.
“It’s disgusting he walked out of there with a £450 fine and we’re struggling to make ends meet,” she said last night.
“They were painting him as a pillar of the community. How can he be a role model for young footballers and a pillar of the community when he put a father of three in a coma?”
Ms Davidson says her partner has mood swings and cannot cope with loud noises.
The attack has also left him unable to play football with his friends as he previously did.
“I’ve been with him 12 years and he’s a completely different person now. He doesn’t say much, he just looks through you. If he hadn’t punched him he wouldn’t have hit his head.”
Ms Davidson was eight months pregnant when the incident happened and is coping with her partner’s recovering and raising a new born at the same time.
“My man can’t do anything with the kids. He can’t hold his new born for any length of time.”
Masson claimed Mr Noble goaded him in the moments leading up to the assault.
CCTV footage played in court last month appeared to show the pair interacting with each other inside the nightclub before the fracas broke out at its entrance. However Sheriff Andrew Miller did not accept provocation as a factor in the case because Masson’s reaction to Mr Noble’s “prior aggression” was not immediate.
He also said the footballer had “clearly lived a very positive and productive life and will continue to do so.”
Defence agent Leonard Burkinshaw told the court his client spends his free time coaching his side’s youth players and youngsters in Fraserburgh.
Last night Masson, of Buchan Road in Fraserburgh, declined to comment.