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‘Thug’ who left Sikh priest brain damaged in ‘racial attack’ jailed for three years | UK News

A “thug” who left a Sikh priest for dead in what has been branded a “racial attack” has been jailed for three years.

Claudio Campos, 28, subjected Avtar Singh, 62, to a severe brain injury after targeting him “without any justifiable reason” in Manchester city centre.

Campos floored Mr Singh by repeatedly punching him in the head in Tib Street, in the city’s Northern Quarter, in broad daylight on 23 June.

He then calmly walked away leaving his victim unconscious in the street before going to a sports bar for a beer and burger with his girlfriend to mark their fifth anniversary.

“Cowardly” Campo hid from the police for three months until he was arrested after a tip-off following an appeal.

He claimed his girlfriend said Mr Singh had touched her bottom as they walked past each other at a pedestrian crossing, Manchester Crown Court heard.

CCTV footage showed him pursuing Mr Singh to “demand an explanation” as the priest tried to walk away.

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Mr Singh suffered a stroke caused by bleeding on the brain together with multiple fractures to his cheek, jaw and eye socket, affecting his vision.

The priest, described as a “supportive, humorous, loving and hardworking husband and father”, now requires round-the-clock nursing and medical care.

He is unable to read his prayers or write in his prayer book, the court heard.

Campo denied the attack was because Mr Singh was wearing a turban.

He pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm at an earlier hearing.

Passing sentence on Thursday, Judge Hilary Manley said the maximum sentence she could pass was five years and that Campos must also receive credit for pleading guilty.

But she told the defendant: “He was simply making his way through the city. He was troubling nobody. He gave you no reason at all to do what you did.”

“Mr Singh has been described by his shattered and broken family as a humble, gentle and peaceable man, a devoted follower of and priest within the Sikh faith, who regularly carried out selfless acts of charity for those in need of help.

“As a direct result of your decision to attack him, his life, and the lives of his family, are forever traumatised, changed and diminished.”

Mr Singh’s wife, Navinder, told Campos: “He was a happy man, minding his own business.

“You attacked his turban, a crown every Sikh wears in public, you left him for dead.”

Meanwhile, his daughter Sukhveer branded Campos a “monster” while her sister, Surinder, told him: “I think of you as nothing but a thug.

“You hid like a coward for three months.”

Mr Singh and his family were regular volunteers with the not-for-profit organisation Sewa (Selfless Efforts for Welfare of All) and would help feed the homeless every Sunday in Manchester city centre.

Sewa founder Pritpal Singh Makan described the priest as a “polite, courteous and helpful member of our community”.

“Sadly we see this a racial attack,” he said.

“Our turban is a crown which stands out.”

Family of Sikh priest appeal for help to find street attacker | UK News

The family of a “loving and caring” Sikh priest left with life-changing brain injuries after an attack in Manchester city centre have appealed to the public for help in catching his attacker.

The 62-year-old was left unconscious in the middle of Tib Street after the assault on Thursday 23 June 2022, and he still remains in hospital.

The force has now released CCTV footage, along with pictures of a man and woman who they believe may be able to help with the investigation.

A statement from the victim’s family said the husband and father had lived in the city for 37 years and “worked long hours every day to help his children live the life he never got to”.

But they said he had been “left for dead on the bustling streets of Manchester, a route he has walked home every day, while people watched on”.

The force has also released images of two people they hope can help with the investigation
The force has also released images of two people they hope can help with the investigation

The family added that he had had his life “tragically altered forever when a thug cowardly committed this heinous act, leaving him in a pool of blood with catastrophic permanent life-changing brain damage and walked away as if it was normal behaviour”.

They said: “We appeal to anyone who knows anything or knows the offender to come forward – it is more than two months since the incident, and we are no closer to finding them and bringing them to justice for their actions.

“Our husband/father lives in a hospital bed with life-changing injuries, not knowing what the future holds.

“Please, please act today not out of hate but to stop this happening again to someone else and tearing another family apart, as we would not wish this anguish on anyone else”.

Greater Manchester Police were called to the scene by the North West Ambulance Service shortly before 6.30pm.

After reviewing CCTV, officers saw the victim had been assaulted by an unknown male close to the junction with Hilton Street.

The offender then fled the scene on foot, turning left onto Oldham Street.

Detective Inspector Mark Astbury, of Longsight CID, said: “We took the decision to release the CCTV footage with the family’s permission, simply to show the severity and mindlessness of this attack and why we need to make sure the offender is found and faces the consequences of his appalling actions”.

Anyone with information, or who may recognise the man or woman pictured, is asked to contact Greater Manchester Police on 0161 856 6049 or report it online at

Alternatively, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.