A TRACK and trace worker has avoided jail despite admitting to a ‘terrifying’ attack which left his neighbour with three broken bones.

James Dyer, of Longs Way, Wokingham, slapped and punched his neighbour before grabbing a pizza cutter in a “nasty” rampage back in December 2018.

The 34-year-old, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, was spared prison time after Judge Edward Burgess suggested this would likely lead to him re-offending.

Prosecuting, Richard Sedgwick told Reading Crown Court that Dyer was heard shouting “I’m going to kill someone” by his neighbour on the evening of the attack.

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Dyer then entered his neighbour’s home, and “set about attacking her” and smashing her windows.

Mr Sedgwick said: “He slapped her in the face and attempted to smother her with a pillow.

“She ran towards the door but tripped and cut her knee.

“When she was on the floor he punched her ten times on the head.

“Dyer then went inside and returned with a pizza cutter and tried to attack another neighbour but was restrained.”

The prosecution said the neighbour was taken to hospital following this attack, where it was revealed she had suffered three broken bones in her foot which left her unable to walk and forced to use a wheelchair temporarily.

She also suffered swelling to her head and a cut to her lower left leg.

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Mr Sedgwick read out a statement from the victim, who was present at Reading Crown Court for Dyer’s sentencing.

It read: “Since I was assaulted, it has affected me very badly.

“I am used to being independent, but I wasn’t able to do things on my own like getting dressed and was unable to go to work.”

The attack forced the victim to move into her parent’s home hundreds of miles away, meaning she was away from her own home for three months and away from her friends.

She was also forced to buy new furniture following the attack as well as new glasses, and overall she was left £1,356 worse off.

The victim’s statement continued: “I’m back at my old job but it has taken a lot to get me here.

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“I’m still worried if he [Dyer] sees me again he will attack me.

“This incident stole my independence from me, which is something very dear to me.”

The prosecution argued that Dyer’s neighbour was “vulnerable” and was “being targeted” by him, suggesting to the judge that the 34-year-old should serve a custodial sentence.

But defence counsel Nick Cotter said Dyer felt “remorse for his actions”.

He added: “It is not a defence that he suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, but it is a fact.

“His mental health issues go some way to explaining his behaviour on this day.

“It doesn’t make anything right and it doesn’t wind the clock back.

“My client is aware of the effect this has had on the victim.”

The defence told Judge Burgess that Dyer was currently working in the track and trace system, and will soon be working on a project related to people entering the UK.

Sentencing, Judge Burgess told Dyer: “You committed a violent attack on your neighbour.

“She is a very vulnerable individual. The way you attacked her home and her person was terrifying for her.

“It was a very nasty incident.

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“I have no doubt it will affect her in all sorts of ways.

“I accept that you were very unwell at the time, but not to an extent that it gives you a defence.

“A prison sentence would likely trigger a relapse into paranoid schizophrenia.

“Given the direct link between paranoid schizophrenia and offending, it would be counterproductive to send you to prison, given you would be much more likely to offend again.”

Instead of a prison sentence, the judge made Dyer subject to a community order for 24 months.

As part of this order, he will be forced to undertake rehabilitation activities, do 100 hours of unpaid work, and will be subject to mental health treatment.

If he fails to complete these tasks, he will be sent back to court where he could receive a prison sentence.

As well as the community order, Dyer was handed a restraining order from the victim for five years, meaning he is not allowed to contact her during that period.

Addressing the victim, the judge said: “I’m very sorry you were put in that position.

“I hope you are able to move forward from this and have the reassurance from the court that he [Dyer] is not allowed to contact you in any way, shape or form.”

James Dyer was sentenced after admitting to inflicting grievous bodily harm, damaging property and having an offensive weapon.

He learned his fate at Reading Crown Court on Friday, April 23.

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