Robert Wilcox: Sheffield man subjected friend to terrifying and 'unprovoked' attack in his own home
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A Sheffield man has been jailed for more than three years, after subjecting his friend to an ‘unprovoked and unnecessary’ attack in his own home.
Robert Wilcox and the complainant had become friends during the course of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Prior to carrying out the attack on January 10, 2023, the complainant invited Wilcox around to his home, and the pair had spent the afternoon drinking whisky together, prosecutor Matthew Burdon told Sheffield Crown Court.
The judge, Recorder Mark Guiliani, noted there was a ‘macho’ and ‘competitive’ component to their friendship.
Describing Wilcox’s behaviour on the day of the incident, Recorder Guiliani said: “You went around at 3.30pm, and are described as being irritated because a fridge you ordered had not arrived. You calmed down, and started drinking whisky together, although the complainant doesn’t consider either of you as being drunk. You decided to order food at about 6pm, and there was no animosity.”
“For some reason, probably because of the competitive friendship between you and the complainant. He can’t recall why, but you became angry…you punched him numerous times for about five to seven minutes.”
Recorder Guiliani told a sentencing hearing on November 24, 2023 that when the complainant tried to defend himself, Wilcox threatened to snap his wrists and said he would kill him; and similarly, the complainant threatened to ‘kill’ Wilcox, of Vauxhall Road, Wincobank, Sheffield.
Wilcox, aged 55, only brought the attack to an end when the complainant promised he would not tell anyone about the incident, the court heard.
Mr Burdon said the complainant was subsequently taken to hospital via ambulance and was found to have suffered a number of injuries in the attack, including: fractured ribs; a nasal bone fracture; swelling and wrist injuries.
In a statement to the court, the complainant said: “I let him into my house, I thought he was my friend. I’m usually a good judge of character. I feel betrayed. I kept thinking I was going to die.”
“My own home is somewhere where I should feel safe.”
“I keep myself to myself, as I don’t feel I can trust anyone.”
At an earlier hearing, Wilcox entered a guilty plea to a charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, on the basis that he ‘used punches and not weapons’ to carry out the attack, which was accepted by prosecutors.
Francis Edusei, defending, said Wilcox is lightly convicted, with only one, unrelated previous offence on his record.
“Looking at his previous conviction, and the fact that since this event, he has caused no further problems. Clearly, he’s resumed his normal, lawful lifestyle,” continued Mr Edusei.
He also referred Recorder Guiliani to a number of character references submitted on the defendant’s behalf.
Recorder Guiliani jailed Wilcox for 40 months, and told him: “This was an unnecessary and unprovoked assault.”
“It must be clear that if you assault someone you were supposed to be friends with, it’s going to have a life-long effect on his ability to make friendships with other males.”
Recorder Giuliani also granted a restraining order, which prohibits Wilcox from contacting the complainant for a period of 10 years.