Gary and Samantha Sipthorpe have asked police to release their victim personal statements read in court today during the sentencing of Liam Davies.
“The events of the night of 23 July 2021 has affected my life and the lives of myself and my wife as a pair
“Despite always being comfortable with walking at night, I no longer feel confident in walking after dark and this includes walking around the area that my wife and have lived in for the past 28 years and as a result of this incident, if my wife and I are out and about and people around us shout or raise their voices in an unimposing and non-threatening way, we still find ourselves panicking or startled in a way that wouldn’t have happened previously.
“We would often walk to and from town of an evening for a meal or a drink, but since the attack we have only been to town once and on that occasion we drove because we didn’t feel safe. In fact, we didn’t even stay out as long as our friends because we were anxious about getting back to the car.
“Physically, my sight has deteriorated and the back of my retina on my left eye is still partially detached. This has resulted in me experiencing dots within my eye and thus effecting my vision. In bright sunlight or even if there is strong lighting within shops, I experience flashing lights within my sight of which I can only describe as an effect like a disco ball and this makes me feel disorientated and dizzy.
“I have had to have glasses to correct my vision but they cannot stop the flashing and dots and I have to wear them all the time as a result of this. Furthermore, the glasses are uncomfortable to wear as a result of me having a lipoma above my right ear and where the arm of my glasses sit.
“My hearing has also deteriorated and I now suffer with ringing in my ears. My concentration and balance has been affected as a result of this and I find myself starting a sentence and just stopping, not realising that I have done this until someone points it out.
“I am easily tired, especially on exertion and then as a result of this, I get headaches which do not go until I take painkillers and once I’m rested.
“I am trying to exercise to increase my stamina and to try and tackle a lot of these challenges but this is difficult as a result of the attack. Since the assault against me, my blood pressure is dangerously high and this has resulted in the doctor, trying to get this under control by adjusting my medication. I am afraid to do too much and risk a stroke or heart attack.
“At work, I’m worried of how forgetful I seem and worried that it is as a result of the bleed on the brain.
“Despite always walking to work, I now have to drive as I can no longer walk that far without getting a headache but with me being uncomfortable about walking in the dark this is having a huge impact on my anxiety levels and as I may need to consider my options in the future if I can’t overcome this new fear. Further to this however and to add to those fears, I am even less happy about my wife Samantha walking alone and my anxiety levels are huge when I think about that.
“My wife, Samantha is having nightmares and screaming out. We can no longer watch films or television with any aggression or violence as they upset her and give her flashbacks and nightmares. This is having such a detrimental impact on both Sam and I and what happened to us on that night will affect us for a very, very long time.”
“When the man we now know to be the defendant shouted to ask for a light we both turned round and said no, thinking nothing of it. What happened next turned our lives and that of our families upside down.
“The brutality of the beating that Gary was receiving will haunt me for ever and I vividly remember every detail. I remember screaming at the defendant to get off Gary, and pulling him from Gary and him throwing me off. I remember sitting on the kerb, saying ‘what the hell happened?’ to Gary and feeling the utter terror when he came back to attack us again.
“I remember Gary defending me, stopping this man from hurting me. I remember Gary trying to phone the police and then shouting as the defendant grabbed his phone from him and threw it. I remember dialling 999, screaming down the phone that we were being attacked. I remember turning back and finding that the defendant was gone and that Gary was laying on the ground. He was making an awful noise and genuinely believed that Gary was dying. That fear of that moment will haunt me forever.
“Gary and I have been together for over 30 years. I know that this is all documented in my statement but I wanted to show how it has impacted me and my family.
“Gary was admitted with terrible injuries and when the consultant in A&E told us that he had a bleed on his brain, my world stood still. Our sons were distraught and worried sick about their Dad but also about me. I then had to tell other family members, Gary’s Mum and brothers, my Dad and other family and friends.
“The first few days whilst Gary was in hospital were dreadful. I was terrified that there would be long-term effects from the bleed.
“When I went back (to work), I was terrified to leave Gary on his own. I had an awful churning feeling in my stomach for the whole time we were apart but I was allowed to work part time for a couple of weeks which meant that I could spend more time at home and with Gary. I message and phoned Gary throughout the day whilst at work and when it came to going back full time, I felt physically sick about leaving Gary for 10 hours a day.
“The irony is that the night of the attack, I was telling my Auntie that in 35 years of living in Taunton, I have never felt unsafe. That has all been taken away from me. I am having nightmares and I’m waking up screaming and crying.
“I want to also add the impact this has had on our boys, they worry so much about us, not coming to physical harm but to how we have been mentally affected by this, I hate to see them worried about us, it is our job to worry about them not the other way round. Also my Mum; I phoned her when we got to the hospital and when she got there, she was faced with seeing me with ripped clothes and covered in blood. She has flashbacks as a result of that night.
“We have gone from always doing something, being out every weekend to thinking we will just stay home.
“Physically I am ok but my fear and worry for Gary’s health is very real and makes very, very anxious. I ask family and friends constantly if they think he is ok and I watch him like a hawk. I am constantly worried when he has a headache and I always think it is to do with the injuries. The actions of the defendant, this one man, has had an effect on us that will be with us forever.”