Buckingham Palace guard who attacked passers-by in 'most most violent piece of CCTV footage' police officer had seen walks free

'This case highlights the horrors of alcohol-fuelled violence'

Two soldiers, including one who is now a guard at Buckingham Palace, have been spared jail after they brutally assaulted two men in an unprovoked attack after a night out in Darlington, County Durham.

Shaun Smith, 25, and Jason Collins, 21, walked free from Teesside Crown Court, after Judge Jamie Hill QC said he wanted them to continue with their Army careers.

CCTV footage of the brutal attacks, which occurred near Smith and Collins' barracks at Catterick Garrison in April 2014, shows Smith stamping on the head of one victim 18 times, while Collins, a soldier in the Welsh Guards who is now a guard at Buckingham Palace, repeatedly punches him as he tries to run away.

Regarding the victim who was stamped, Judge Hill said: "Whatever caused it to erupt, he was causing no threat at that stage and it's a major surprise he suffered no more than bruising and was able to get up and see if his friend was all right."

After finishing the attack, which left one victim unconscious, the pair ran off, and were found hiding in a beck by police.

They claimed they were acting within the law to protect themselves from assault, and wanted to "disable" the threat.

After the sentencing, Detective Constable Andy Palmer said: "This is the most violent piece of CCTV footage I have seen in 10 years as a police officer and it is extremely fortunate that the victims in this case were not more seriously injured.

"This case highlights the horrors of alcohol-fuelled violence and is even more shocking given that the defendants were, up until this incident, of good character."

Smith and Collins had been out drinking in Darlington before the attack, a town around 15 miles from Catterick Garrison and a popular drinking destination for the garrison's soldiers.

Two of the soldiers' superior officers attended the hearing, and told the court they wanted the two men to return to work.

Richard Herrmann defending Smith, said: "He's an angel but on that night he was a devil."

Sentencing both men for committing actual bodily harm, Judge Hill expressed his hope that the Army would continue to employ the men, who he said had showed a considerable degree of remorse.

He said: "What I have done is entirely exceptional. I cannot say what the Army will do but I express the hope that the Army feels able to keep you."

Collins, a soldier in the Welsh Guards, was given a 12-month community order, and Smith, of the Scots Guards, was given a 12 month sentence suspended for 12 months and was ordered to complete 80 hours of unpaid work.

Both were ordered to pay £1,000 compensation.

Additional reporting by the Press Association

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