Former boxer went 'beserk' and punched victim until he was 'lifeless' in savage Sunderland house attack

Anthony Taggart
Anthony Taggart

A former boxer who choked, punched and stamped on an unconscious victim has been branded a public danger and put behind bars.

Anthony Taggart, who had already downed two litres of wine and a half bottle of vodka, went "berserk" during a gathering at his ex-girlfriend's house in March when his drink got accidentally spilled.

In a terrifying explosion of violence, the 31-year-old, who had 70 bouts to his name as a boxer, choked and then punched David Brown until he was "lifeless".

Taggart then pulled Mr Brown, who was in his 50s and in poor health, off the sofa he had collapsed on and stamped hard on his face "seven or eight times" before throwing further punches and dragging him across the floor.

Mr Brown, who suffered facial fractures in the attack and developed respiratory problems, has since died. However, Newcastle Crown Court heard prosecutors do not claim there is a link between the violence that night and Mr Brown's death.

The court heard during the shocking attack on Mr Brown, Taggart also turned his powerful fists on a woman when she tried to help the injured man.

She suffered a fractured jaw as a result of a punch to the mouth and needed surgery.

He also attacked his former girlfriend, who had let him in to her home because she was too scared not to, by kicking her in the face and hitting her with a wine bottle.

She initially believed she was not seriously injured but started to lose "pink fluid" from her eye and nose, which resulted from a blown pupil and suspected bleeding on the brain.

The court heard after ringing an ambulance for Mr Brown, and taking the women's phones to stop them calling the police, Taggart left the house and during his ten days on the run threatened to burn down his ex's home "whether there were bairns in or not".

Prosecutor Glen Gatland told the court the two women have been left living in fear and are living as virtual prisoners in their own home after what happened.

Mr Gatland added: "Mr Brown unfortunately died after this incident.

"Very detailed instructions have been taken and as far as I am aware there is not any evidence to prove a link between this incident and the demise of Mr Brown."

Taggart, of Sandringham Road, Roker, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to two charges of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and one of assault.

Mr Recorder John Aitken told Taggart: "Your drink was knocked over and you went completely berserk at this simple thing.

"Mr Brown died some time later.

"The prosecution have made inquiries and I am told there is no evidence he died as a result of your blows, otherwise, you would be facing a murder charge."

"There is a risk of serious harm to the public in future. Frankly, there are times when you simply cannot control yourself."

The judge sentenced Taggart to eight years behind bars with an extended licence period of a further three years and told him: "To be released at all you have to demonstrate that you are no longer a risk."

Tony Cornberg, defending, said Taggart accepts he has to make changes and has sought professional help.

Mr Cornberg said: "He really needs to become master of his temper. He appears willing to do so.

"The Anthony Taggart of today is not the Anthony Taggart of six months ago."