Ex-soldier jailed for attacking disabled man

A former soldier who was filmed attacking a disabled man in his care was jailed today.

Wayne Parker, 37, laughed as he subjected Gareth Gunner to an ordeal which left the autistic 22-year-old screaming in terror.



Neighbours watched Parker, who worked as a carer at the Newbus Grange residential care home near Neesham in County Durham, strike Mr Gunner about the face and head with a series of open handed karate chop style blows as the pair exercised on an outdoor trampoline.



Parker then shoved Mr Gunner, who the court heard was severely disabled and had a vocabulary of just a few words, into the centre of the trampoline and ordered him to bounce.



Judge Tony Briggs watched a video of the incident filmed by a concerned neighbour who was alerted by Mr Gunner's cries.



Teesside Crown Court heard Stephen Gray grabbed his camera after watching Parker taunting Mr Gunner in August last year.



Prosecutor Jenny Haigh said Mr Gray was shocked to see Parker push Mr Gunner with great force into the safety netting surrounding the trampoline, then punch him in the face.



Another witness, Clare Mathieson, described hearing Parker's "cruel, nasty" laughter and Mr Gunner wailing unhappily as he was attacked.



She said: "It was sickening that someone who was looking after a vulnerable person could do this."



Jailing him for eight months, Judge Briggs said: "You have been for some years a carer for those mentally unable to look after themselves and were in a position of considerable trust.



"It is perfectly plain that Mr Gunner was clearly distressed and frightened, and in relation to that it is not a surprise that those who lived nearby and were used to the sounds patients made clearly stated that they were sounds of fear and distress.



"Unhappily, looking at the whole matter, prison is unescapable. The vulnerable have to be protected."



Parker, of Harcourt Street, Darlington, admitted a single charge of assaulting or neglecting a person in his care who was not mentally capable.



Mitigating, Martin Towers said Parker, who is married and worked as a carer since leaving the Army seven years ago, had suffered a momentary and disastrous loss of control during "horseplay" on the trampoline.



He said: "He recognises that what happened has destroyed his career and there is no way back for him in that line of work."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower