THE partner of a man left severely disabled and needing 24-hour care after a one-punch assault has spoken of her heartache five years on and the turmoil of not being able to see him amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

On September 20, 2015, Caroline Sykes’s long-term partner, scaffolder Simon Hackett, was punched in the face and knocked to the ground as he walked home from a night out in Buttershaw.

Simon, now 40, suffered catastrophic head and brain injuries which have left him unable to talk or walk, totally dependent on nursing care and in and out of hospital for countless operations.

In 2016, Jordan Docherty, then 20, was sentenced to four years in a young offender institution, while Caroline and her daughter, who was only 11at the time, have had to face the devastating and life-changing consequences of what happened.

This year has been even more difficult because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The devoted mother and daughter used to visit Simon in the specialist care home where is looked after every day, but have not been able to see him since March because of the current situation.

Usually, they would have been by his side in hospital for operations, but it was a very different picture last week when he had to go in for yet more surgery.

Caroline said: “It’s absolutely heart-breaking. It’s awful because we’ve seen him all the time. Every day until March, with Covid, we’ve seen him. Then the fact he was not able to come home, to his own home.”

Last year, they submitted a planning application for a single-storey extension to the back of their home for Simon, but it was refused. Two neighbours had lodged their objection, citing fears about overshadowing, loss of light and loss of privacy. The family appealed the decision, but in yet another blow, it was dismissed, leaving them devastated.

Now, it’s a case of taking things day by day.

Caroline said: “The impact of this has been massive. His life expectancy is short through all this.

“He can’t fight anything.”

Before the attack, Simon was a “fit and healthy man” but Caroline says he now has no resistance. She said: “The extent of how bad this injury is, with Covid, it’s very, very tricky. We can’t look to the future, it’s day by day.”

Their daughter, now 16, is due to go college and Caroline said: “If her dad was with us, he would have been overwhelmed that she’s gained a college place and what she’s going to be doing in life.

“I’m really, really proud of her. She is absolutely Simon. She’s got a big heart and anyone who she can help, she will.”

Last year, the teenager spoke movingly to the Telegraph & Argus about the impact of the attack.

She said: “From the age of 11, my world came tumbling down. I was 10 days into high school with an exciting time ahead - getting my education and also meeting new friends.That really didn’t happen. My dad, my best friend and my everything was left dying in the road from an unprovoked attack.”

The brave teen spoke of the long journey they have been on and said: “Now I have a very different dad who I will always love and cherish forever.”

The pair have many fond memories of how their life was before and remember Simon’s outgoing, hardworking nature.

“We talk about them all the time,” Caroline said.

“Going fishing, going camping, holidays, everything. It definitely helps, you hold on to your memories.”