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Motorcyclist struck on helmet with hammer in ‘ferocious’ assault near Headington roundabout


Oct 6, 2022

A councillor said she was ‘screaming’ as she watched a Mercedes driver smash a motorcyclist’s helmet with a hammer in a ‘vicious and ferocious’ assault.

Cllr Tanagra Jabu Nala-Hartley, who represents the Barton and Sandhills ward, witnessed the attack on Bayswater Road, just off the Headington Roundabout, last August.

“I was screaming because the attack was so vicious and ferocious,” she told Oxford Magistrates’ Court.

“I was in shock. It’s not something you expect to see.”

Earlier, the magistrates heard that victim Szymon Stec was on his motorcycle on August 11 when he met defendant Jose Nunes da Silva’s Mercedes on the Headington roundabout.

“He tried to push me off my lane, to force me into the left lane,” he claimed. It happened slowly, at around 10mph, he suggested.

They turned onto Bayswater Road, towards Barton. The Mercedes was said to have stopped suddenly, forcing the motorcyclist to brake ‘harshly’.

Da Silva, 52, got out the car and approached the biker ‘shouting and swearing’, the victim claimed.

He was accused of pushing the motorcyclist then returning to the boot of his car and picking up a hammer. “It was a fluorescent orange hammer with a wooden handle.”

Mr Stec claimed that the driver took a swing at his helmet with the tool. The visor fell off in the attack, while pictures handed to the bench showed the damage to the red helmet.

His account was supported by Ms Nala-Hartley. When questions were asked of her about how she knew the driver was wielding a hammer, she replied: “I know what a hammer looks like.”

She added of the number of blows: “I was not counting, but all I could see was it was a ferocious attack because it repeatedly hit [the motorcyclist].”

The Mercedes driver claimed the motorcycle was very close to the car on the roundabout, revving its engine. He claimed the biker kicked the side of his car, although the victim denied it.

He accepted pushing the motorcyclist ‘two times’, but vehemently denied attacking him with a hammer. He said: “I don’t have a hammer in the car. I have the screws for taking the tyres, cloths for cleaning, gloves for protecting my hands.”

Da Silva claimed to have stopped at the scene and taken photographs, including one of the motorcyclist’s visor beside his car.

The victim photographed the damage to his helmet Picture: CPS

When this was put to victim Mr Stec together with a photograph allegedly showing his visor by the Mercedes, the biker told the court: “That’s not my visor, I’m 100 per cent sure.” Other pictures of the visor and helmet, taken by the biker at the scene and sent to the police, showed a black fixing at the bottom of the clear, curved plastic – apparently not present on the defendant’s images.

The magistrates convicted Da Silva, of Green Ridges, Oxford, of assault. He was bailed to return to court on October 28 for sentence.

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward