‘Sickening’ stamping attack by thug who tried to murder boyhood pal

A savage thug who repeatedly stamped on his best friend as he tried to murder him has been jailed for 16 years.

Robert Tullick was left with catastrophic life-changing injuries after a minor dispute with his boyhood pal, Danny Stothard, exploded into “sickening” violence.

The shocking broad daylight attack in the street was witnessed by school children and caught on CCTV.

Stothard, whose stamping went “on and on” for around two minutes, even as his victim lay unconscious, was found guilty of attempted murder after a trial and has now been branded dangerous and jailed at Newcastle Crown Court.

Sentencing him, Judge Robert Adams said of the CCTV: “It demonstrates a shocking and sickening level of sustained violence in a public place involving kicking, punching and stamping, in broad daylight, seen in part by children of school age walking past the junction.

“You appear to have left him for dead, making no effort at all to help.”

The judge, who previously apologised to jurors for the fact they had to view the distressing footage, added: “The nature of this attack was truly sickening arising from a minor matter.”

Robert Tullick after he was attacked by Danny Stothard
(Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

The court heard there had been a previous fall out between the men but they appeared to have made up.

On January 29 last year, Stothard visited Mr Tullick at his home at Claxheugh Road, Sunderland, and they drank cider.

At some stage, a row and a minor fight broke out between them inside and Stothard said Mr Tullick punched him, cutting his nose.

The pair then went outside and Judge Adams said: “What happens next is shown clearly on the CCTV. He quickly fell unconscious.

“You attacked him in a brutal manner, involved repeated stamping, kicking and punching.

“The stamping went on and on for a couple of minutes.

“You even walked away then returned to continue kicking him.”

Judge Adams said the attempted murder was not pre-planned but said Stothard had “completely lost your temper”.

Mr Tullick suffered life-threatening head injuries and was in a critical condition.

Robert Tullick after he was attacked by Danny Stothard
(Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

He was found to have 27 recent injuries, with a significant life-threatening brain injury which have left him with permanent changes in his cognition and functioning levels and changes in his personality. He also had a large number of bruises and abrasions to his head, nasal fractures, other injuries and stamp marks from Stothard’s footwear.

The judge added that “something clearly occurred within the house to trigger this” and said Stothard had assaulted his friend “in retaliation”.

Nick Dry, prosecuting, said Mr Tullick has been left with a range of difficulties, including mood swings, emotional control issues, depression, difficulty sleeping.

He added: “The damage is permanent. He will never be the same person he was before the attack.

“He has been unable to work since the attack and can only be expected to do low skilled work in future.

“The overall effect is said to be catastrophic.

“It was sustained violence against a vulnerable unconscious man in broad daylight in a residential area as children walked home from school.”

Stothard, 29, of Primrose Street, Sunderland, who has no previous convictions for violence, was sentenced to 16 years with an extended licence period of a further three years. He will have to serve at least three-quarters of the 16 years in prison.

David Callan, defending, said: “It’s obviously a very tragic case.

“They were two best friends from boyhood.

“It’s a quite extraordinary set of events given he has nothing on his record for violence, just for cannabis, which is usually associated with peaceful activities.”

Chronicle Live – Sunderland