Judge apologises to jury for savage attempted murder footage

Savage Danny Stothard is facing a long prison sentence after he was caught on horrific CCTV footage trying to murder his friend in an act of revenge.

Such was the brutality of the violence he inflicted on Robert Tullick, a judge apologised to a jury for the fact they had to view it.

Stothard went to Mr Tullick’s home for a drink on January 29 so they could “clear the air” and “let bygones be bygones” after a falling out the previous week.

But Newcastle Crown Court heard 29-year-old Stothard had an “ulterior motive” for his seemingly friendly visit and took the opportunity to launch a ferocious and frenzied attack that left Mr Tullick on a ventilator with life threatening injuries.

He only stopped the onslaught on his unconscious victim when he was too exhausted to continue.

Prosecutor Nick Dry told the court it appears the brutal violence started inside the house and continued outside, as children from a nearby school walked by.

Mr Tullick suffered 27 separate injuries, including 12 impacts to the head, which were consistent with stamping.

He was left with facial fractures and stamp marks from Stothard’s shoes on his face and neck and was taken to hospital by air ambulance for life-saving treatment.

He knew nothing of what had happened to him until he woke up four days later.

Stothard, of Primrose Street, Sunderland, denied attempted murder but was found guilty by the jury. He will be sentenced in December.

During the trial, Mr Dry told the court the men had been friend since school but had fallen out in the days before the attack over Mr Tullick’s alleged behaviour towards Stothard’s girlfriend on a night out.

Mr Dry said: “It was Robert Tullick’s belief that the matter was dealt with, water under the bridge, the defendant having been the one to extend the olive branch by way of telephone call earlier that morning.

“Or so it seemed to him at the time, it now appearing instead, from what was to follow, that the defendant had quite different intentions upon calling that morning, an ulterior motive and purpose to exact violent revenge upon his friend which would see him leaving Robert Tullick for dead in the street before the afternoon was out.”

The court heard the attack on Mr Tullick appeared to have started inside his home but continued outside, where the violence was captured on CCTV in “clear, shocking and graphic detail”.

Mr Dry said: “It shows Robert Tullick staggering from his home and going to ground on the pavement where he was repeatedly punched, kicked, head-butted and stamped to his head and body by the defendant, Mr Tullick unconscious and defenceless throughout.

“The sustained and prolonged attack was carried out in broad daylight and in the presence of children returning home from school, the defendant only desisting when he appears to have exhausted himself owing to the ferocity of the frenzied violence visited upon his friend.”

At the end of the case, Judge Robert Adams said to the jury: “I’m sure you will have found that footage particularly shocking. It’s shocking to see the level of violence one person is capable of using on another.

“I appreciate it may be distressing for you and if it was, I apologise.”

The court heard a passing neighbour saw Mr Tullick lying injured and administered first aid until the emergency services arrived and he was taken to hospital by helicopter.

Mr Dry said: “He was found to have life threatening head injuries. Stamp marks from the sole of the defendant’s training shoes were readily apparent on his face and neck.”

He added: “It is the Crown’s case that he intended to kill Robert Tullick when he attacked him as he did, delivering that barrage of repeated and forceful punches, head-butts, kicks and stamps to his face, head, neck and body.

“Those blows struck as Mr Tullick lay defenceless and unconscious, the defendant persisting in the attack when that would have been patently obvious to him.”

The court heard there was extensive damage inside Mr Tullick’s home at Claxheugh Road, Sunderland, including a smashed TV and window along with the destruction of kitchen appliances.

Stothard claimed the trouble had started after Mr Tullick threw a mug at him during the visit and attacked him in the house.

He claimed he kicked and stamped on Mr Tullick in a bid to get away as he feared he may have a weapon.

Judge Adams adjourned sentence for a pre-sentence report to assess the issue of dangerousness but warned Stothard he faces a substantial custodial sentence on December 4.

Chronicle Live – Sunderland