Armed robber who stabbed police officer in Wigan has jail sentence increased

Stephen Unsworth
Stephen Unsworth

A man jailed for robbing two shop assistants at knife-point and stabbing a police officer has had his sentence increased.


The Court of Appeal decided the eight-and-a-half year prison term given to Stephen Unsworth was too lenient and imposed an extra two years.

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The 36-year-old is behind bars after taking a six-inch knife to the AM To PM shop, on Gidlow Lane, Beech Hill, in October.

He threatened two female shop assistants and robbed them of personal possessions. He also stole cash, alcohol and tobacco.

Upon hearing sirens, Unsworth attempted to escape and was pursued by police.

When PC Stephen Lamb grabbed hold of him, he was stabbed repeatedly with such ferocity that the blade snapped.

His body armour prevented serious injury, but he suffered puncture wounds to his elbow, stomach and under his arm.

Unsworth, who is also known as Stephen Hewlett, was jailed at Bolton Crown Court in April for offences including robbery and wounding with intent to resist arrest.

But he will now serve ten-and-a-half years after the Court of Appeal increased the original jail sentence by two years.

After the hearing, the Solicitor General Lucy Frazer QC MP said: “Unsworth is a serial offender and it was right for the Court of Appeal to increase his sentence.

"The officers who apprehended him, despite one of them being repeatedly stabbed at, showed great bravery. If PC Lamb hadn’t been wearing body armour, the injuries he sustained would have been much worse.”

Det Con Danny Ritchiem from Greater Manchester Police's Wigan district, said: “Our officer courageously tackled a known, armed offender who had just moments earlier subjected two shop workers to a terrifying ordeal at knife-point.

“The officer was only saved from serious or fatal injury by his body armour and the bravery of his fellow officer, whose quick-thinking helped restrain Unsworth on the ground.

“We welcome today’s judgement, which shows that we will not tolerate assaults on our colleagues and we will always seek the maximum sentence possible when an officer is attacked.”

The bravery of PC Lamb, along with his colleague PC Andrew McCoombes, has since been recognised with the John Egerton Trophy, an award given annually to Greater Manchester Police officers in memory of a constable killed on duty in 1982.

They have also been put forward for the National Police Bravery Award at the prestigious London Ceremony in July.