Callous thug who beat homeless Doncaster man half to death is jailed

A callous thug, who beat a homeless man half to death in a Doncaster shop doorway, has been jailed after admitting to one count of grievous bodily harm.

Thursday, 16th March 2017, 3:48 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 9:59 am
The scene in Printing Office Street following the attack in August 10 last year

Daniel Walker, of Grange Road, Woodlands was sentenced to nine years in prison at Sheffield Crown Court this afternoon for what Recorder David Kelly described as an attack carried out against a 'vulnerable' homeless man in 'no fit state to defend himself'.

The court heard how after drinking an excessive amount of alcohol, 27-year-old Walker was 'stumbling' up Printing Office Street at around 4am on August 10 last year, when he threw some foliage he was carrying into the doorway of the British Heart Foundation.

It was through throwing the foliage into the doorway that he realised a man, Karl Notley, was sleeping rough there.

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Prosecutor John Boumphrey told the court how CCTV footage taken from the town centre street, showed Walker entering the doorway and an altercation beginning between the two, with Mr Notley, 52, falling out on to the step and into full view of the camera a short time later.

Mr Boumphrey said: "Walker kicks him, and walks a short distance away. He returns and kicks him twice more. Walker walks a short distance away before returning and stamping on his head twice more."

The court was told how the attack continued in a similar way, with Walker returning to kick and stamp on Mr Notley's on a further two occasions before leaving the scene for good.

Due to Walker being seen at Doncaster Interchange and then being directed towards a taxi rank minutes after the attack, the 27-year-old was put forward as a suspect and was arrested later that day.

On arrest, Walker said that a homeless man had attempted to get into his pocket and he had slapped him away, and said that was all he knew about the attack. Smatterings of Mr Notley's blood were found on trousers and shoes taken by police later that day for evidence.

Mr Notley suffered a brain hemorrhage in the attack as well as multiple facial injuries, and was placed into a medically-induced coma when he was taken to Northern General Hospital in Sheffield shortly after he was found lying injured on the morning of August 10.

The court heard how Mr Notley remained in intensive care at Doncaster Royal Infirmary (DRI) for two months following the attack, before being placed into psychiatric care at York House in Doncaster.

Medical staff treating Mr Notley at DRI described how after regaining consciousness Mr Notley was very disorientated, was quick to anger and continuously left himself in a 'vulnerable' position by taking his clothes off in the corridor or walking around naked.

However, Recorder Kelly said it was difficult to tell whether this was a result of the brain injuries suffered in the attack, due to Mr Notley already suffering from a personality disorder - that had previously led to him being sectioned - when the offence took place.

Defending Walker, Michael Cane-Soothill told the court that the 27-year-old did not have any memory of what happened, but after being shown CCTV of the incident he acknowledged he had carried out the attack and was horrified by his actions. He later pleaded guilty at the first opportunity during a hearing on December 9 last year.

In a statement read out by Walker in court, he said: "I have had a lot of time in prison to think, and the guilt I feel will live with me forever.

"Actions of this kind are so out of my character.

"I cannot begin to show the amount of remorse I feel."

Sentencing Walker, Recorder Kelly said he believed the 27-year-old felt 'genuine remorse', but also told him he thought it was not 'melodramatic to say Mr Notley is lucky to be alive'.

He said: "You kicked him in the head while he lay prostrate. You walked for a short distance but came back and kicked him again, before coming back and stamping on his head for good measure. You returned a number of times, kicking him, all while he lay prostrate.

"Mr Notley was in no fit state to defend himself, and I don't think he would have, even if he'd been able to.

"I think you targeted him because you knew he was vulnerable."