Axe attack victim's 'immense bravery' in helping bring down criminal gang

Axe attack victim's 'immense bravery' in helping bring down criminal gang


A man found dead six years after being viciously attacked with an axe has been commended for his 'immense bravery' in helping to bring down a criminal gang.

Cameron Brooksbank, 24, known by his loved ones as Cam, was tragically pronounced dead after being found unresponsive at a property on June 18 of last year.

An inquest yesterday, Wednesday May, 15, found that a mix of both prescription drugs and cocaine were in his system when he died - but a coroner concluded that Cameron had not intended to take his own life.

The tragic death comes six years after the axe attack survivor was subjected to a brutal assault that he said 'completely changed his life' and meant he was no longer 'the same person', reports Manchester Evening News.

The time of the attack he was just a teen working as a tree surgeon when he intervened in a road rage incident in Rochdale in 2017, attempting to restore peace.

However, the attackers turned on him and he was struck by an axe in the armpit, and then again on the wrist as he tried to shield his head from another blow.

Cameron's hand was partially reattached, but then he required a further five surgeries in the two years since the attack just to maintain 60 per cent use of his arm. The inquest at Rochdale Coroner’s Court heard he was 'devastated' by the attack and 'never' got over it.

Cameron Brooksbank said his life was turned upside down by the vicious axe attack.
Cameron Brooksbank said his life was turned upside down by the vicious axe attack. -Credit:Supplied

Appearing last year on an episode of BBC crime documentary 'The Detectives', Cameron opened up about his mental health struggles after enduring the brutal and violent assault.

“I woke up from the operation and thought everything like my career has gone down the drain,” he recalled at the time. “I had five operations and got depressed, and tried to do myself in a few times. I took an overdose and was rushed into hospital. I am not the same person as I was two years ago and I don’t think I ever will be.”

Giving evidence at the inquest, Cameron’s grandad Fred Higgin said the attack had a 'profound impact' on his grandson’s life, adding: "He never got over the event, none of us did. He was devastated by that axe attack. He would never get himself back."

The inquest heard that following the attack, Cameron began using cocaine to 'self medicate' but his family thought he had stopped using the drug prior to his death. Cameron was also heard to have had taken two overdoses prior to his death.

Cameron was given a bravery award.
Cameron was given a bravery award. -Credit:Supplied

Cameron's mum Claire told the inquest that before his tragic death, he was prescribed a new antidepressant to help with his depression. The inquest heard a toxicology report found a cocktail of drugs, including cocaine, oxycodone, pregabalin, diazepam, amitriptyline and mirtazapine in Cameron’s system and that all were prescribed with the exception of cocaine.

Coroner Kearsley recorded Cameron’s cause of death as mixed drugs use (cocaine, oxycodone, pregabalin, diazepam, amitriptyline and mirtazapine) and Bronchopneumonia and concluded that he died as a result of misadventure. She said there was 'no evidence; Cameron intended to end his life.'

Following his death, a spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police told the M.E.N: "Cameron’s immense bravery captured the nation’s heart and helped to bring justice criminals who were a serious risk to the community.

"We will always remain grateful for his pivotal role in that case, and the support of his family during that time. Following Cameron’s inquest, our thoughts and condolences remain with his family and loved ones."

And his mum Claire read a statement and tribute to Cameron in which she described him as her ‘best friend’. She said: “The day he died was the day I died inside. He was and is loved by so many people. He had the biggest heart of gold and was so loving and caring, a true hero.

“I am so exceptionally proud and it’s an honour to be his mum. Throughout these last few years since the axe attack it completely changed his life, but the strength and bravery he showed was outstanding.

Cameron Brooksbank was found dead at a house last year.
Cameron Brooksbank was found dead at a house last year. -Credit:Supplied

"No one knows what he went through that day [ the day of the attack] and the scars of it. It was horrendous everything he’s been through, it’s so sad. He was in constant agony. He suffered, it completely changed his life that attack.”

Cameron's attacker Mohammed Awais Sajid, , of Kings Road, Rochdale was one of four men jailed for the axe attack in 2019. Sajid was jailed for 18 years after being found guilty of section 18 wounding. Last year he lost a bid to overturn his conviction.

Habibur Rahman , who summoned Sajid to the scene, was also handed a prison sentence of four-and-a-half years on an assault charge.

Rahman's brother, Zillur Rahman, 29, was jailed for three years for conspiracy to commit violent disorder after he admitted making phone calls to summon the gang.

Arsan Ali, 23, who was among those he called and attended the scene, was jailed for four years after being found guilty of conspiracy to commit violent disorder.

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