British man to have SKULL built after 'brutal assault' in New Zealand

British man will have a replacement SKULL built after suffering horrendous injuries in ‘brutal assault’ in New Zealand

  • Josh Storer, 26, will need part of his skull replaced after New Zealand bar assault
  • Plumber from Derby suffered traumatic brain injury but made ‘miracle’ recovery
  • A new skull will now be made for him using a metal plate or synthetic material  

A British man who has been recovering in a New Zealand hospital from life-threatening injuries will need to have part of his skull replaced, according to his doctors.

Josh Storer, 26, from Derby, suffered a traumatic brain injury after an alleged assault in an Auckland bar on July 9.

The plumber was rushed to hospital where he underwent extensive brain surgery and was kept in an induced coma for three weeks. He needed part of his skull removed in a craniectomy to relieve pressure on his brain. 

However, he has ‘shocked’ doctors by making a ‘miracle’ recovery and has been released from a rehabilitation centre into the care of his family – just the day before he celebrated his 26th birthday.

Josh’s family travelled from Spondon to be with him as soon as Covid restrictions in New Zealand allowed and they have been staying there since late July.

Josh Storer, 26, from Derby (pictured before the incident), suffered a traumatic brain injury after an alleged assault in a bar in Auckland, New Zealand on July 9

His sister Sian – who was allowed to see him for the first time on September 22 – said his future prognosis is still uncertain.

She said: ‘When we dropped down to level 3 lockdown in Auckland recently, one designated visitor was allowed to go and see Josh each day for an hour and he and I were finally reunited.

‘Josh was so happy when I visited and his mood has lifted since the visits started. I was over the moon to see him and was quite emotional.

‘He’s progressed really well in the rehabilitation centre, although he has had a few falls due to the blood not going to his brain fast enough when he stands up. He’s had a temperature and also low blood pressure – his heart beats faster than it should.

‘We’ve been told that when we get to level 2 in the pandemic, Josh will be able to have his operation. But he has been told that his skull, that was removed originally to relieve pressure on his brain after the incident, is no longer suitable and that a replacement skull will be made for him.’

The family, including Josh’s parents Ian and Dawn, were delighted to have him with them in time for his birthday. Sian added: ‘Being with us will go a long way to aid in his recovery and mental wellbeing. He will be an outpatient and still receive after care.

‘I wouldn’t say it’s the exact same Josh as before the accident, but I would say mostly.

‘He’s forgetful, he’s going to have some trouble with problem solving and things like that, and emotions can be up and down hour to hour.

‘In terms of the damage, that’s irreversible. There’s quite a lot of scarring on the frontal lobe.

The plumber was kept in an induced coma for three weeks following extensive brain surgery after the incident and part of his skull was removed (pictured) to relieve pressure on his brain

‘The doctors are shocked that he got this far to be honest. They told us to prepare for the worst, so to be honest I think he’s a bit of a miracle.’

The procedure Josh underwent to remove a bond flap is called a craniectomy and if not replaced with the original bone either a metal plate, or a synthetic material will be inserted.

Josh, who had been working on a visa as a plumber in New Zealand for more than three years, was kept in an induced coma for three weeks following extensive brain surgery after the incident at The Albany bar. His medical expenses are expected to be covered by insurance.

The New Zealand authorities granted a border exemption, which allowed his parents Ian and Dawn Storer and Sian to enter the country to see him, although they had to quarantine for two weeks beforehand.

His mum and dad finally reached his bedside in time to see him smile after waking from the coma in intensive care in August.

It had been three years since they they last saw their son in person because the coronavirus pandemic prevented them from meeting up as planned earlier last year.

Friends have rallied round the family to raise money to enable them to stay in the country.

A total of £14,645 has been raised out of a of £15,000 goal on a GoFundMe page ‘Help the Storer family get to Josh’ set up by a friend of the family and more money has been raised by friends in New Zealand towards the cost of flying and staying in the country.

They also organised a charity football match at the Borrowash Victoria AFC ground on September 19, which raised £3,522.

Sian said: ‘They had a football match and also did a raffle with some amazing prizes, Josh’s grandparents, uncles, aunts and friends attended and we’ve heard it was a fantastic day organised by Zoe Hallack, Jade Martin, Coral Fearn and Kane Jordan.

However, he has ‘shocked’ doctors by making a ‘miracle’ recovery and will now need part of his skull replaced using either the original bone, a metal plate, or synthetic material. Pictured: Josh, wearing a protective helmet, with his sister Sian

‘We also want to thank Harley Turner and Lewis Jennison who did two days of hair cuts and donated all of their takings to Josh’s fundraiser.

‘It’s amazing how many people came together to help a family in crisis and we’re just so grateful to them all.’

Despite the donations, the family says that there are still a lot of expenses to cover such as suitable rental accommodation for the next couple of months. and they have also still to hear if they will have to pay quarantine expenses of £6,150 or if they will be waived.

Sian added: ‘As a family, we don’t know what Josh’s future looks like, which is scary. We do know that Josh is a fighter and will do everything he can to be back to how he was however, he does have irreversible damage to his brain that could limit him for the rest of his life.’

Prior to moving to New Zealand, Josh was a plumber in the UK, after completing his education at West Park School in Spondon.

A 56-year-old man has been charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

He originally appeared at North Shore District Court on July 15 and will next appear on October 27.

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