Marine ad­mits at­tack

NT News - - NEWS - VANESSA MARSH

A DAR­WIN-BASED US marine has ad­mit­ted vi­o­lently at­tack­ing a 60-year-old woman.

Tay­lor Wy­att El­wood, 20, only stopped the pro­longed at­tack on the woman in a de­serted car park at Bris­bane’s Enog­gera Bar­racks when a Fed­eral Po­lice of­fi­cer tried to in­ter­vene and was also at­tacked.

El­wood’s lawyer yes­ter­day said his client gave up a uni­ver­sity grid­iron schol­ar­ship that could have led to an NFL ca­reer to in­stead serve his coun­try, had been “dis­graced” by his ac­tions and would be dis­hon­ourably dis­charged from the US Army.

De­fence lawyer Dave Gar­ratt said El­wood could also po­ten­tially face a court mar­tial upon his re­turn to the US.

El­wood’s com­mand­ing of­fi­cer, Colonel James Sch­nelle, the high­est rank­ing US Marine de­ployed with the con­tin­gent, was re­lieved of his com­mand ear­lier this week af­ter he was caught drink driv­ing in Dar­win.

El­wood yes­ter­day pleaded guilty to charges of se­ri­ous as­sault of a per­son over 60, po­lice as­sault and wil­ful dam­age re­lat­ing to the at­tack in July this year.

Po­lice pros­e­cu­tor Glenn Whit­tle said on the day of the at­tack, a 60-year-old woman, who worked at the army bar­racks, had just got into her car at the fa­cil­ity’s multi-level car park when El­wood, wear­ing a black mo­tor­bike hel­met, dragged her from the ve­hi­cle and be­gan re­peat­edly punch­ing her in the face.

The pros­e­cu­tor said El­wood then dragged the woman around the park­ing garage “like a rag doll” bash­ing her head into guard rails and cars so hard that a ve­hi­cle was dented and scratched.

“The vic­tim states she re­ally be­lieved she was go­ing to die,” Mr Whit­tle said.

Mr Gar­ratt said the 20year-old had been of­fered a full schol­ar­ship to play grid­iron at uni­ver­sity, which could have led to an NFL ca­reer, but he turned it down to join the Marines af­ter see­ing news images of child vic­tims of chem­i­cal at­tacks in Syria.

He said El­wood knew he had “brought shame to US Marine Corps and also his coun­try” and that his ac­tions had im­pacted the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the Aus­tralian and US de­fence forces.

“He’s got no idea why he be­haved in this ap­palling man­ner,” Mr Gar­rett.

“He’s an out­stand­ing marine.”

El­wood, who was sup­ported in court by mem­bers of his unit, was sen­tenced to 15 months im­pris­on­ment which will be sus­pended af­ter he has served three months.

He was also or­dered to pay $3000 resti­tu­tion he of­fered the vic­tim and $1331 for dam­age to a ve­hi­cle which was dented in the at­tack.

Pic­ture: AP

US marine Tay­lor Wy­att El­wood leaves the Bris­bane Mag­is­trates Court yes­ter­day

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