A man has said that his life “changed forever” when his neighbor drilled into his skull in a violent attack at his home.
Police were called to Lloyd Russell’s, 34, home after reports of a disturbance where they discovered the attacker Eddie Achunche, 45, with the drill still in his hand and Lloyd on the ground with a 5cm hole drilled into his brain.
Achunche claimed the attack was self-defense and that he had not meant to hurt anyone but was caged for four-and-a-half years in October 2021 after he was found guilty of GBH without intent but not guilty of GBH with intent, Essex Live reports.
However Lloyd, from Essex, states that he suffered severe long-term affects that have changed his life.
The horrifying injuries left Lloyd in a coma for three weeks and he states that he suffered a range of long-term neurological, motor and emotional impairments as a result of serious brain and eye trauma. These include right-sided hemiparesis and double vision.
Lloyd said: “Suddenly I start realizing that I had a brain injury, my life has changed. From August 3, I was born again. Everything that I used to do, I can’t do and that includes my house. For what, nothing. If I had injured myself, even though I would be annoyed, I would be able to live with it.
“It is so serious because since 2020 I have raised every day. What did I do to deserve this? He could have punched me, he could have kicked me, he could have done anything.”
Despite six-months of rehabilitation, Lloyd claims he sadly could not return to his job as a freelance signaling engineer due to the serious injuries he sustained from the assault. In addition, he says he is currently homeless with his dog and an 18-month puppy because he claims he was forced to rent out his property as he could not afford to live in it.
Lloyd had a “troubled” early start in London as he left school in year nine, with barely any qualifications. He says he was given a jail sentence in 2010 for conspiracy to supply class A drugs, and he served 27 months before being released.
Even though he says he was constantly rejected due to his criminal record, with the help of his probation officer, he managed to get a job as a railway Personal Track Safety (PTS) worker in 2014 where he said he worked his way up. The railway worker says he became a highly qualified signaling technician during that time and managed to buy his first home from him in Harlow. Lloyd said life was “blessed” for him at that point until August 3, 2020.
Lloyd says that he bumped into Achunche on the bottom of the stairs and asked him questions about some late night DIY work that had occurred the night before and kept residents awake. Lloyd claims he had never had a problem with Achunche and said they rarely interacted with each other until the afternoon of the attack. Lloyd said: “I think to myself ‘Lloyd why did you have to go to speak to him, why did you not go home because if I did not speak to him I would not have to go through all of this. But I said to myself ‘well that’s just me’.”
“Things don’t make sense to me after a year,” Lloyd added. “It was such a blur. When I woke up I thought I got injured at work. Everything was such a blur because it was nothing,” he said.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, Lloyd says he could not have any friends and family at the hospital and had to go through his recovery alone. Lloyd thought his mobility would start to return with a bit of exercise and he would be back to work by Christmas but, he quickly realized that it was not possible.
The 5cm drill went in his left eye and deep into his basal ganglia, the part of the brain that is primarily responsible for motor control, executive functions, behaviour, and emotions. He says that he sustained cranial fourth nerve palsy, double vision, and right-sided hemiparesis. In addition to suffering from “emotion dysregulation”, “post-traumatic anemia”, and depression. Lloyd also claims he experiences communication difficulties and has lost so much weight he doesn’t think he will get it back.
Lloyd added: “I’m only normal because I can function but realistically if you ask me if I am normal, I am not normal.” The construction worker endured a five-month rehabilitation program. He spent two months at Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge until October 2020 before being transferred to the rehabilitation unit at Homerton Hospital in Hackney until January 2021.
Lloyd said his life was turned upside down after he was released from the rehabilitation unit in 2021. He went to live with his girlfriend for around seven months before they split up.
He said: “It’s destroyed me. I am scarred with my life. My life is messed up. I’m homeless. I don’t work. I can’t really move. I don’t have a girlfriend. I’ve got no one.”
When Lloyd heard that Achunche was given four-and-a-half years, the same jail sentence he received for a drug supply charge, he says that he felt “let down”. He said: “So my life has been destroyed. He gets 4 ½ years, I got 4 ½ [when sentenced with conspiracy to supply]. How are you giving him the same sentence as me?
“I need to walk away from this knowing that even though he has done this to me, I have got a second chance. But now, I’m just going down because I’m homeless.”
Sadly, Lloyd also says he does not have a support network who he can turn to. The 34-year-old said: “When I came out of hospital I did not want to get in contact with people, I wanted to get better. Seeing me like this is hard for them to get their heads around.
“It is deeper than that because it’s not about money. It’s my life. Everything that I worked hard for It’s been taken away from me for no reason. People have moved on with their life, but I have not moved on. I can talk about the August 3 (2020) like it was yesterday.”
Lloyd also says his experience has made him more aware of the impact of brain trauma. Before the attack he says he “would n’t care” but now he calls for people to learn more about it as he feels people do not fully understand the severity of the damage it has on someone’s life. He said: “There are many people who have been through what I’ve been through and would not have survived. I don’t need emotional help, I need help.”
At the time of Achunche’s sentencing, investigating officer Detective Constable Alana McCreath, from Harlow CID, said: “Eddie Achunche is a volatile man whose actions have had massive impact on his victim.
“He’s shown little remorse for his actions and tried to persuade officers he was acting in self-defence.”
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