Sunday 8 November 2020 10:21 PM UTC
By A Staff Reporter
LONDON Nov 8: A soldier, who carried out a vicious and unprovoked attack on a Keralite taxi driver Noby James (43), was sentenced for nine years and nine months’ imprisonment, North Yorkshire Police reported last week.
The unprovoked attack took place near Northallerton in North Yorkshire at Little Holtby – between Leeming and Catterick Village – during the early hours of Sunday 1 December 2019.
The soldier got in the taxi at around 3am from outside Club Amadeus in Northallerton. When the taxi arrived at Little Holtby, Wilson started to carry out an unprovoked attack on the Noby, from Northallerton Hambleton district of North Yorkshire.
Noby had got out of his taxi in a remote spot after the drunken Iraq veteran, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, pulled the handbrake three times.
During the “terrifying” assault, Noby managed to call 999 and begged the operator to send help but the attack continued. The police officers arrived while the attack was ongoing. Wilson immediately stopped and began attacking the officers, a male Sergeant and female PC. The PC was punched and the Sergeant was strangled by Wilson.
Fearing for their safety, the officers activated a call for emergency assistance which resulted in Wilson being detained.
As he was being put in the back of the police van, Wilson reportedly said the following to the Sergeant: “You took your time. I was going to kill him (the taxi driver) and I was going to kill you.” He was charged that same day with attempted murder and the two assaults on emergency workers.
The drunken soldier’s “sustained and prolonged” assault left Noby with life-threatening injuries including a brain haemorrhage. Noby also suffered broken facial bones including his eye sockets, damage to his windpipe, a badly swollen nose and lip, and had teeth knocked out during the attack.
Noby suffered a critical brain injury and was in a coma for two months at James Cook University Hospital. He has been left with debilitating health issues which have greatly impacted on his own and his family’s lives.
Since then Joby, from Thalayolaparambu in Kerala, has recovered and trying to get back to normalcy.
The soldier has been since discharged for gross misconduct from his position as a Corporal with the Royal Engineers and was set to face trial for attempted murder and now has been jailed for nine years and nine months.
Judge Guy Kearl QC told Wilson: “Anyone who wonders how Mr James felt in the moments leading up to the assault need only listen to the 999 call when, terrified, he was panicking about what you were going to do to him and screaming for assistance. He was right to fear for his life.
“This was an unprovoked attack upon a person who was just doing his job. You held him down by the neck and struck him repeatedly as he lay unconscious on the ground.
“He did not recover his consciousness for over a month. His rehabilitation will be a long one.”
In the hours leading up to the attack, Wilson had been out drinking with friends in Northallerton. He got so drunk he began staggering around the road outside Club Amadeus, the court heard.
He eventually got into a taxi at about 3am with a couple who said he was drunk but “okay” before they were dropped off at their home.
Noby was driving Wilson back to his barracks when the soldier’s behaviour suddenly turned “strange and sinister”.
After he pulled the handbrake for the third time, Noby stopped the car in an isolated spot and got out to call the police, the court heard.
Prosecutor Michael Smith told the court how the soldier, who was described as a “leader of men”, told Noby that he would shoot him if he had a gun.
He told the court that the last thing Noby recalled was being struck to the head and being laid on the ground.
Mr Smith added: “The next thing he remembers is waking up in hospital 35 days later.”
By the time police arrived at the scene on the A6055, Wilson was laid on top of Noby at the side of the road.
Noby was struggling to breathe, bleeding heavily and barely conscious.
Wilson, of the Royal Engineers based at Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, was described as “out of control” and charged at officers who called for back-up as they struggled to take him to ground.
Body-cam footage showed officers struggling to apprehend Wilson as he fought them off.
Wilson was finally brought under control and Noby was airlifted to James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough and was taken into intensive care.
Detective Inspector Matt Wilkinson, of Northallerton CID, said: “In this case there are three victims – the taxi driver and the two police officers. None of whom were known to Wilson.
“The taxi driver merely collected Wilson from outside a local nightclub, and the police officers were responding to the driver’s call for help.
“During the time Wilson was being questioned at the police station, he has not given any credible explanation for his terrible actions, other than to say he was really drunk and that he didn’t mean any harm.
“He did state that he thought he was on a military exercise, but extensive police inquiries were conducted around Wilson’s military career and there was nothing to suggest that he had or was suffering from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) at the time of the incident.
“All the evidence gathered during the course of the investigation indicates that it was a completely unprovoked attack. To this day, Wilson’s motive remains unknown.”
DI Wilkinson said: “His wife has been heavily reliant on the Malayalee community and their family – many of whom do not live locally – to assist with caring for him and to help with their children.
“However, due to the covid-19 restrictions, this has left his wife having to provide the care alone. The family are struggling financially and their children have also needed additional support at school as a result of this attack.
“In view of this despairing situation, North Yorkshire Police is trying to facilitate some extra support through our partner agencies.”
Addressing the assaults on the Sergeant and PC, DI Wilkinson said: “Taking into account the violent actions against the taxi driver, the ferocious attack on them and the comment made by Wilson immediately after he was arrested that he was going to kill them along with the taxi driver, both officers said they feared for their lives.
“Although the officers sustained slight injuries, this incident has had a lasting effect on them. It left them very shaken and upset for a number of weeks.
“Overall, this has been a very tragic and sad case for all concerned. Aggravated further as it was the taxi driver’s birthday on the day of the attack, and for the defendant who, prior to this case, was regarded as a good soldier who played rugby for the Army.”
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