Sunderland man Danny Stothard jailed for 16 YEARS for attempted murder of boyhood friend Robert Tullick

An attempted murderer has been jailed for 16 years for a "shocking and sickening" attack where he left his friend for dead.

Monday, 26th April 2021, 12:43 pm

Danny Stothard went to Robert Tullick's home for a drink on January 29 last year so they could "clear the air" and "let bygones be bygones" after a falling out the previous week.

But Newcastle Crown Court heard during the seemingly friendly visit, 29-year-old Stothard launched a ferocious and frenzied attack, that spilled out onto the street and left Mr Tullick on a ventilator with life threatening injuries.

The court heard Mr Tullick's injuries had a "catastrophic" affect on him and he will "never be the same person again".

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Danny Stothard

Judge Robert Adams told Stothard his attack involved a "shocking and sickening level of sustained violence in a public place, involving kicking, punching and stamping".

Judge Adams added: "You appear to have left Mr Tullick for dead, making no effort at all to help your friend."

The judge said he was satisfied the attack was not premeditated but a "spontaneous attempt to kill".

Judge Adams told Stothard: "Currently, I consider you are a dangerous individual."

Police at the scene of the attack in Claxheugh Road, South Hylton

Stothard, of Primrose Street, Sunderland, was given a further three-year extended licence period on top of the 16 year jail term.

He had denied attempted murder during a trial but was found guilty by a jury last year.

Prosecutor Nick Dry told the court 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.

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."

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 James Cook University 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 to get away as he feared he may have a weapon but the jury rejected his explanation.

David Callan, defending, told the court: "It is a very tragic case. These were two best friends from boyhood."

Mr Callan said Stothard has no previous convictions for violence and what happened was a "extraordinary set of events".

Detective Inspector Steve Robinson, of Northumbria Police, said: “This was one of the most brutal and frenzied assaults that I’ve seen during my time in policing.

“Stothard carried out this ferocious attack in the middle of the day and continued to stamp on his victim as he lay unconscious in the street, in full view of children walking nearby.

“It is nothing short of luck that Stothard did not kill his victim that day – and it’s clear that was his intention as he inflicted life-changing injuries on a man who used to be his friend.

“There is absolutely no doubt that Stothard deserves to spend a long time behind bars and I welcome the sentence handed down. There is no place for violent offenders on our streets.

“I sincerely hope this outcome can offer the victim some kind of comfort and closure following this truly traumatic ordeal.”

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