Being in court all the time it’s almost inevitable you become desensitised to the various vile things people find to do to other human beings. Even so this case of an attack on a paediatrician in Birmingham City Centre struck a sour note.
For various reasons this one hit pretty close to home. Even putting that aside the gratuitous nature of Leon Taylor’s attack on an innocent victim just made me seethe at the pointlessness of it all. On top of everything, his actions caused the victim, understandably, to quit the UK, leaving Birmingham worse off to the count of a highly qualified children’s doctor.
Taylor (pictured above), aged 19, of no fixed address, who is expecting his first child with his partner, was caught when he was identified by the mum of a friend following a CCTV appeal.
That friend, Harry Sutherland, 20, from Stourbridge, pleaded guilty to possession of an offensive weapon and received a suspended sentence.
Taylor was jailed for four years and eight months. For a young man that’s a long time. But it was the sentencing comments by His Honour Judge Richard Bond that I thought hit the nail on the head. Some are in the full story published on The Birmingham Mail website (link above). Here is an extended version where the judge pretty much said everything I would have wanted to be said.
“At the start of this incident the plan was to rob your victim but the plan changed and that decision them made was to simply inflict really serious bodily injury on your victim.
“(He) was not causing trouble to anybody at all.
“It is particularly concerning your victim was a paediatrician at the local children’s hospital.
“I state straight away I do not increase your sentence because of that, you take your victim as you find him. The sentence should not be any different because the victim has a particular job.
“The reason I draw it to attention is this: he is a person with a really important job in society.
“He has spent years training to be a doctor. Rather than living a feckless life he has taken the deliberate decision to spend years at college and university, he has had to work numerous long hours and probably night shifts.
“It is a lifestyle you have no idea about.
“Because of what you did to him I anticipate he had to be off work, he works as a paediatrician at the local hospital, he is a valuable member of society and what you did has deprived ordinary members of the public of his skills.
“I want you to realise on that night you had no thought whatsoever about the sort of person you were about to attack.
“For him it must be a nightmare to be walking down the street as we saw on CCTV.
“He was kind and told you and your friends what time it was, a lone person walking home in the very early hours of the morning.
“For a reason I simply cannot comprehend you thought it appropriate to attack him by striking him with a metal bar.
“He simply did not deserve it, it was gratuitous, unlawful violence.
“I ask myself why did you attack a man who had only been kind to you, why you thought ‘I’m going to inflict really serious bodily injury on him’?
“I am sure we are never going to know the answer to that.
“The injuries he received were severe, two cuts to the ear which required eight stitches.
“I am going to read something he said in his victim impact statement:
““The fact I have been hit in the ear was extremely lucky, it I had been hit two inches down my neck or on my head I could have suffered a serious brain injury or could have bled to death because there was no way I could have made my way back to the hospital.”
“The streets were empty at that time of night. Nobody else was seen in that CCTV footage.
“Victims, not surprisingly, of serious violence often make assertions that are overblown. Not in this case.
“He is a children’s doctor who has seen serious injuries caused to children who have been struck.
“You know only an immediate and lengthy custodial sentence must follow.
“I really hope your partner does stand by you and when released you can assume your parental responsibilities.
“I hope you can grow up and think about other people and the consequences your unlawful actions have upon them.”