Soldier avoids jail term after unprovoked assault

A SOLDIER who left who left a fellow soldier with a “gruesome” injury to his neck in an unprovoked attack avoided a prison sentence after a court heard he was in a moment of “highest training alertness”.

Winchester Crown Court heard on Thursday that 23-year-old Daniel Walker, of 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment, left his victim, a 30-yearold Royal Engineer soldier, with a 5cm wound that needed nine stitches.

The pair didn’t know each other and each was out with separate groups of friends when the assault happened in Salisbury’s The Chapel nightclub in the early hours of June 1.

The victim was dancing when Walker approached him and pushed a bottle into his neck.

A first aid-trained Military Police officer who witnessed the assault said it seemed to be a completely unprovoked attack.

Witnesses couldn’t agree on whether the bottle was glass or plastic but Jane Terry, prosecuting, said it didn’t matter which it was as the way it shattered meant it effectively became a blade.

The victim had to be taken to hospital for treatment and Miss Terry said it was “fortunate for all concerned that it didn’t involve a more significant injury”.

Defending Walker, Paul Light said the attack happened in a split second and his client hadn’t thought of the bottle as a weapon, he just happened to have it in his hand.

He said Walker thought he’d perceived a threat to one of his colleagues.

“He felt that he had to act in protection of that person,” said Mr Light.

“What he accepts is that it appears he acted too quickly.”

The court heard from Walker’s commanding officer, who said he had been part of a group undergoing intensive training as they were to be on five days’ stand-by to fly out to a warzone.

He said Walker, who is currently a lance corporal, was a high flyer and was potential non-commissioned officer material, but this incident would slow his progress down as he would now be unable to get a promotion for three years.

Walker admitted unlawful and malicious wounding and Judge Peter Towler sentenced the soldier to an 18- month community order with an aggression replacement training programme.

Walker was also ordered to pay £750 in compensation, £500 towards prosecution costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

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