A man who violently assaulted a couple in Taunton in an unprovoked attack has today (Monday, 14 February) been jailed.
Liam Davies approached Gary and Samantha Sipthorpe and asked them for a lighter as they walked home from a pub on the evening of 23 July last year.
When they said they didn’t have one, Davies punched Gary in the head multiple times, knocking him to the ground.
The 25-year-old then continued his attack as his victim lay defenceless on the floor before directing his aggression towards his wife, pushing her over when she tried to intervene.
Gary, 55, tried to phone the police but Davies, of Hawthorn Road, Taunton, threw his phone across the road and continued to assault him.
He eventually fled when Samantha, 53, managed to call 999.
As a result of the assault, Gary sustained a bleed to the brain, a detached retina and fractures to his rib and nose. He continues to receive treatment for his injuries seven months on and still experiences headaches and issues with his vision.
With no witnesses to the incident and with nothing captured on CCTV, Davies’ identity was initially unknown.
A breakthrough in the investigation came after a public appeal was made for information.
After seeing the appeal, a member of the public contacted us about a conversation he’d had with Davies about injuries to his hands and neck the morning after the incident.
Davies was arrested but denied any involvement and so was released on bail pending further enquiries.
When a forensic examination of the Gary’s phone which had been recovered from the roadside later found traces of Davies’ DNA on it, he was re-arrested and subsequently charged.
Having later pleaded guilty to both GBH and battery at an earlier hearing he was today sentenced at Taunton Crown Court.
During the hearing both Gary and Samantha spoke about how the incident had affected them – you can read their statements here.
Davies was handed a sentence of seven years and two months. He will serve a minimum of five years and two months in prison, with the remainder on licence.
Detective Constable Joe Lewis said: “Liam Davies is an incredibly dangerous man and and Taunton is a much safer place with him off the streets.
“He was responsible for what was a truly senseless and barbaric attack, using disturbing levels of violence which are extremely rare not just in Taunton but across the whole of the Avon and Somerset area.
“Without the member of the public’s help we may never have identified him and we’re extremely grateful for the evidence he provided and the support he gave in bringing Davies to justice.
“All information provided to police is assessed and this case demonstrates how one piece of information can be key to solving a crime.
“It is only by chance Gary’s injuries weren’t more severe and I’d like to commend him and Samantha for their bravery in standing up in court today and sharing just how significantly this attack has had on them.
“I hope now Davies has been sent to prison for a substantial amount of time they have some closure to this awful ordeal and can get on with their lives.”