TWO youths responsible for the "senseless violence" which left a police officer in a coma have been jailed.

More than a year after he was attacked, 21-year-old Lewisham PC Daniel Coffill is still in a "vegetative state" and needs 24-hour care.

Lance Samuels and Jack Turner, both aged 17, were sentenced at Croydon Crown Court.

Samuels, of Sudbury Crescent, Downham, was sentenced to eight years for grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent.

Turner, of Coldharbour Estate, Eltham, received nine years for GBH with intent, plus two-and-a-half years for a further GBH on the officer.

Both were also given an extended licence of four years by Judge John Tanzer, who described the pair as "devoid of the most basic concept of morality".

At their trial in May, a jury heard of the attack, which took place in Queen's Road, Bromley, on July 1 last year.

PC Coffill had been out with friends when he approached one of the youths for spitting at his car.

He was punched in the face by Turner, and fell to the ground, fracturing his skull.

Samuels joined in kicking PC Coffill as he lay unconscious on the ground.

Witnesses spoke of seeing the pair on a bus soon afterwards where they were overheard talking about kicking their victim.

Turner and Samuels denied the allegations but the jury found both men guilty of causing GBH with intent.

PC Coffill's mother, Margaret Gardhouse has given up her job and now provides round-the-clock care for her injured son.

She said: "He is like a baby in a man's body, without the ability to learn. His life and my life as we knew it have changed completely."

Lifting reporting restrictions during sentencing Judge Tanzer said: "No punishment I inflict will change that position, nor, I suspect, will it create any feeling of guilt or remorse, having observed you here and your actions during the trial."

Lewisham borough commander Chief Supt Archie Torrance said: "As a promising young constable Daniel had his whole career ahead of him, he is missed by his colleagues and they continue to visit him.

"I hope the conviction of his attackers brings them and everybody who knew Daniel some degree of solace."

A statement from PC Coffill's family slated the "senseless acts of violence on innocent people" adding "yet again society has lost a very special and valuable young man".

COMMENT - PC's life is devastated

LEAVING a 21-year-old police officer in a coma was not enough for two thugs, who later "gloated" about their vicious attack.

One year on, PC Daniel Coffill is still in a vegetative state and needs round-the-clock care.

Now the despicable yobs responsible for this tragedy have both been locked up.

But while Jack Turner and Lance Samuels can expect to return to society in a matter of time, the reality is very different for PC Coffill and members of his family.

Describing her son's existence as an "empty shell", Margaret Gardhouse says there is very little chance her son will ever recover.

Turner and Samuels will soon be walking the streets again, while a promising police career is over and a family left devastated.

It could have been your father, brother, husband or boyfriend who crossed paths with these animals, who thought nothing of ruining PC Coffill's life.

Turner and Samuels spat at PC Coffill's car as he socialised with friends on a night out. They punched him, then kicked him as he lay unconscious before fleeing.

Described by the judge as without guilt or remorse, will a term behind bars have any effect on their behaviour or way of life?

Can there be any kind of justice in a tragedy like this?