Radio Sandwell News

Court shocked as stamp attack soldiers walk free

2015-04-24 22:28:59

Shaun Smith and Jason Collins

A Buckingham Palace guard and a fellow soldier have walked free from court despite being captured on CCTV repeatedly stamping on the head of a victim in the street.

Shaun Smith, 25, and Jason Collins, 22, attacked two men near their barracks at Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire in April last year.

The pair left one of their victims lying unconscious in the road before chasing the other man and pouncing on him as he tripped and fell while trying to flee.

Shocking CCTV footage shows Smith stamp on the man 18 times, while Guardsman, Collins rained down punches on him. 

Detective Constable Andy Palmer, of North Yorkshire police described it as the most violent piece of CCTV footage he had seen in 10 years as a police officer.

But despite the ferocity of the attack the pair walked free from court with the judge saying he hoped they would keep their jobs after hearing glowing references.

Welsh Guard, Jason Collins, 22, who has stood guard at Buckingham Palace and St James's Palace, was given a 12 month community order, while fellow soldier Smith, who was responsible for the stamping was given a 12 month suspended sentence.

Judge Jamie Hill QC said the attack had been “deeply unpleasant and inexcusable” but said he hoped the incident would not affect their military career after hearing from their commanding officers who said the Army wanted to keep them.

Shaun Smith and Jason Collins

Captain James Dyson of the Scots Guards said that if Smith received a suspended sentence it would not mean an automatic discharge from the army, but it would be for a commanding officer to decide whether there were "exceptional circumstances" which would allow him to stay in service.

Judge Hill said: "I state in open court that what I have done is entirely exceptional. I can't say what the army will do but I simply express the hope, as your commanding officers have expressed, that the army feels able to keep you.

"Collins, I do not impose a custodial sentence so it may be straightforward in your case.

"Smith, I take the view that your situation is exceptional and therefore I express that hope and I hope that is relayed to whoever has to make that decision but that is out of my hands I'm afraid."

After leaving the first victim, Mark Thompson unconscious in the road, Smith was caught on camera stamping 18 times on the head and upper body of James Wormald.

Mr Wormald suffered a suspected fractured cheek bone and severe bruising, but was fortunate to escape without more serious injuries according to the police.

Teesside Crown Court heard how after the attack, the pair ran off and hid in a stream to avoid the police.

Shaun Smith and Jason Collins

Both men , who were recruits at the time of the assault, denied a charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

They were found not guilty at their second trial, but admitted two charges of actual bodily harm assault.

The soldiers claimed during their evidence that they were acting within the law to protect themselves.

But Mr Wormald said: “There was absolutely no reason for the attack, it came out of the blue. I can remember little about it but I've seen the CCTV and I'm as shocked as anyone else at the force he used.”

Smith, who is based at Wellington Barracks 300 yards from Buckingham Palace, left court separately from Collins, who is based at Pirbright Barracks in Surrey.

Detective Constable Palmer said: "This is the most violent piece of CCTV footage I have seen in 10 years as a police officer and it is extremely fortunate that the victims in this case were not more seriously injured.

“This case highlights the horrors of alcohol fuelled violence and is even more shocking given that the defendants were, up until this incident, of good character.

“I hope that people watch this footage and realise just what can happen if they do not stay in control when they are out drinking.“


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