A forklift truck driver high on crack cocaine punched and strangled a prostitute until she was unconscious - before continuing to repeatedly hit her in the face while she lay prone on the ground in Sheffield city centre.
Dale Taylor, aged 29 and from Deer Park Road, Stannington, punched the woman to the back of the head with such force it knocked her head into a wall and caused her to fall to the ground.
Taylor started strangling the woman with a ‘vice-like grip’ and after she slipped into unconsciousness while believing she was about to die, he then repeatedly punched her in the face with such force it broke several bones in her face.
He was jailed for 10 years at Sheffield Crown Court for the savage attack on October 25 last year, which left his victim with a fractured jaw, cheekbone and eye socket.
Taylor, who had taken cocaine and crack cocaine before the attack, was originally charged with attempted murder and robbery before the prosecution accepted a guilty plea to grievous bodily harm after receiving a medical report on the extent of the victim’s injuries.
His guilty plea was entered on the basis he had not stolen any money from his victim, as was originally alleged.
He was only caught after leaving his rucksack at the scene of the crime, with a receipt in the bag leading police to get CCTV of him from a shop and resulted in his identification.
David Brooke, prosecuting, said the 39-year-old victim is a woman of a small build, compared to the ‘heavily built’ Taylor, who is over 6ft tall.
He said the woman had been working in the Shepherd Street and Doncaster Street areas of Shalesmoor when Taylor approached at around 1am in the morning.
As they walked off together to a secluded spot, Taylor struck her ‘with great force’ to the back of her head, knocking her to the ground after she hit a wall.
Mr Brooke said: “She was already in great pain when he put his hands around her neck in what she describes as a vice-like grip.
“He spoke to her very, very calmly and threatened her. She couldn’t answer and was struggling to breathe. She fell out of consciousness believing she was going to die.”
He said the woman eventually came back to consciousness and was lying on the floor covered in blood, with Taylor having gone.
A witness who saw her described how it ‘looked like her left eye socket had popped out’ due to the viciousness of the attack.
Mr Brooke said subsequent medical examinations revealed that Taylor had struck the woman at least three times in the face while she was unconscious.
He said it was not possible to say whether the injuries she suffered were caused by a ‘very forceful punch or a kick or a stamp’.
A victim impact statement from the woman was read to court, in which she said she has been left disfigured by the attack and is too frightened to undergo surgery.
She said she has nightmares about the attack.
“I’m scared whenever I’m walking the streets, my own shadow even makes me jump,” she said.
“I find myself flinching when people come close to me because I fear they will hurt me.
“I’m struggling to sleep and have constant nightmares. I dream of him hitting me and putting his hands around my throat.
“I don’t think I will ever get over what has happened.”
Alwyn Jones, defending, said his client had no previous convictions but has been dealing with ‘difficulties for many years’ that he did not wish to explain in open court.
He said: “He will have to address those and the underlying effects they may have on his character.”
Mr Jones added that Taylor is a forklift truck driver who has previously been ‘a positive member of the community’.
He said: “This is an isolated but serious incident on his part.”
Judge Julian Goose QC said the circumstances of the ‘vicious’ attack were ‘deeply troubling’.
“She was defenceless. This was a sustained and violent attack on a vulnerable woman rendered vulnerable by what you did to her,” he said.
Taylor closed his eyes and appeared close to tears in the dock as he was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.
Speaking after the hearing, PC Matthew Brown, the investigating officer, said: “This was a sustained and violent attack on a defenceless, vulnerable woman in an isolated part of the city.
“The attack has left the victim with both physical and mental trauma and it will take a long time for her to fully recover.”