A woman was left covered in blood and fearing she was about to die when she was bludgeoned with a lump of concrete by a stranger in the toilets of a west London park, a court heard.
Clarissa Brookes was viciously attacked by 31-year-old Dylan Beecroft in a toilet cubicle on Acton Green Common, as he rained down blows on to her head in a terrifying seven-minute ordeal.
Beecroft, described by doctors as lacking in empathy and “entitled”, was sleeping rough and flew into a rage with Ms Brookes because she took too long in the cubicle he regularly liked to use.
Brandishing a lump of asphalt, Beecroft forced his way into the toilet and only stopped the attack due to the intervention of horrified fellow park users.
“She certainly believed the attack was going to result in her death”, said prosecutor Hanna Llewellyn-Waters.
“The trauma she sustained and the psychological impact will stay with her, and the shadow of this defendant remains with her. That’s something that will never leave her.”
Beecroft, who is believed to have undiagnosed mental health conditions, was seen muttering to himself and smiling after carrying out the attack, and calmly asked the police officer who arrested him: “How long will I get?”
At the Old Bailey on Friday, he was sentenced to 10-and-a-half years in prison and must serve at least two-thirds of the term behind bars before being considered for release.
The court heard Beecroft is a triplet. One of his siblings is now confined to a mental health institute and the other took his own life.
On March 9 this year Beecroft, who has a history of petty crime including shoplifting, was homeless and living in the Acton area, and had a history of cannabis and alcohol misuse.
Acton Green Common, which is close to Chiswick Park station, is popular with families and dog walkers, the court heard.
Judge Anne Molyneux said Beecroft had been regularly using one of three toilet cubicles in the park as it was “more spacious and had a mirror”, and became agitated when it was in use.
“You waited but Ms Brookes didn’t leave, and this made you very angry. You didn’t control your anger,” she said.
“Ms Brookes heard you repeatedly banging on the door with the block of asphalt, she told you to wait and when the noise stopped she opened the door to leave.
“You didn’t let her leave, you picked up the block and pushed your way into the cubicle.”
The judge hailed the heroic intervention of members of the public, who interrupted the attack as Ms Brookes “crawled out of the cubicle covered in blood”.
“She suffered considerable pain and injuries to her face”, the judge added. “You have destroyed her confidence and faith in strangers, and she fears being the victim of another random attack in the future.”
Beecroft, of fixed address, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm. He must serve an extra four years on licence at the end of his 10-and-a-half year jail term.