The bloody aftermath of a soldier’s attack which left a taxi driver in a coma, has been revealed in gruesome footage from a policeman’s body-worn camera.
The video shows officers grappling with the suspect and then looking after the bloodied and beaten taxi driver who was lying in the road.
Steffan Rhys Wilson carried out the vicious and unprovoked attack by the side of the A6055, between Leeming and Catterick Village, during the early hours of Sunday December 1, 2019.
Wilson got in the taxi, driven by a 43-year-old married father from Northallerton, at around 3am from outside Club Amadeus in Northallerton.
When the taxi arrived at Little Holtby, the 26-year-old started attacking the driver, who he had never met before.
Police arrived while the soldier was still attacking the victim and intervened.
Wilson, of Maesyfro, Station Terrace, Llanybydder, Sir Gar, West Wales, turned on the officers, strangling a male sergeant and punching a female PC.
The two officers called for backup and Wilson was eventually restrained.
As he was being put in the back of the police van, Wilson reportedly said to the Sergeant: “You took your time. I was going to kill him (the taxi driver) and I was going to kill you.”
The bodycam worn by the female PC also shows the barely conscious taxi driver lying in the main road with a large trail of blood around him.
Police can be heard talking to the ambulance service and describing a serious head injury.
The driver was later found to have 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 caused financial problems for his family. His children have also needed additional support at school in order to cope.
Wilson, who has since been discharged for gross misconduct from his position as a Corporal with the Royal Engineers, was remanded in custody until his trial for attempted murder – postponed due to Covid-19.
On Monday though, Leeds Crown Court accepted his guilty plea to the lesser charge of section 18 wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and yesterday he was sentenced to nine years and nine months in jail.
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 enquiries 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.”
The victim was discharged from hospital at the beginning of March.
He remains under medical care but as an outpatient. He has ongoing issues with his vision, co–ordination and mood changes, and now carries a Brain Injury identity card.
DI Wilkinson said: “His wife has been heavily reliant on the Malayali 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.”