TWO drunken thugs whose frenzied knife attack left a 60-year-old permanently disabled have been caged for a total of more than 21 years.
Stephen Briggs-Bennett suffered life-changing injuries when he was stabbed 13 times in a bungled car-jacking in broad daylight.
The victim was leaving the home of his late father-in-law in Worcester Avenue, Hindley, and heading towards his Mercedes parked outside.
A court heard that callous assailants Kieran Wright and Lee Daniels then ran off without taking the vehicle and were seen laughing shortly afterwards.
Judge David Aubrey, QC, told the pair that they had “destroyed the quality” of their victim’s life, who has sustained life-changing injuries and has been affected psychologically.
He said that although Daniels had not wielded the “lethal knife” it was a joint enterprise. “It can properly be described as a frenzied attack for which both of you are responsible.”
He said that while their victim “was lying in hospital receiving emergency treatment you went to various establishments and continued to drink and after this incident you were observed laughing.”
Liverpool Crown Court heard that Mr Briggs-Bennett, a supervisor, had been suddenly grabbed from behind by balaclava-clad Wright, who aggressively demanded his car keys and then began stabbing him with a double bladed ornamental dagger. The victim, who saw another man was with Wright, initially thought he was being punched, but then realised he was “absolutely swimming in blood” and feared he would die.
One of the wounds, a 10cm gash to his left arm, went down to the bone severing 90 per cent of his radial nerve, another went right through the arm slicing through muscle and a third to the base of his ring finger damaged nerves, arteries and tendons.
Wright and his accomplice, Lee Daniels, who was wearing a baseball cap and hood, were spotted by a witness delivering hard kicks to Mr Briggs-Bennett as he lay defenceless on the ground.
The two men then grabbed a bunch of keys which their victim had dropped and tried to get into the Mercedes but it did not include the car key, said Gerald Baxter, prosecuting.
The victim staggered to nearby pensioners’ bungalows for help and was rushed to Wigan Infirmary where he underwent an hour-long operation to staunch the profuse bleeding.
He was then transferred to Whiston Hospital where he had five hours of surgery to try to repair the damage. The knife had caused injuries to his shoulder, neck and face as well as his arm.
Medics have warned Mr Briggs-Bennett, who is still attending out-patients and having twice weekly physiotherapy sessions, that he may never recover fully from the damage to his arm, wrist, fingers and shoulder. He has now returned to work part time but can no longer drive or do DIY, both of which he enjoyed, and needs assistance from his wife with every day tasks such as dressing.
In a statement he said he did not believe his attackers will ever realise how severely they have damaged his life.
Wright, 27, and 26-year-old Daniels, left the scene after the attack at 10am on February 17 and ran to the nearby home of a female friend. They had tried to steal the Mercedes as a Vauzhall Zafira stolen earlier that day had been crashed by Wright.
“They were laughing and it was obvious both were drunk,” said Mr Baxter. The friend told them to leave and they got a taxi and en route bought lager and vodka. Police called at the house that evening and recovered the dagger from a drain where Wright had hidden it.
When Wright, of Broadway, Hindley, was arrested the next day, he said: “I was going to come in tonight but United are playing at 7.30pm so I wanted to watch that first.” He later gave a prepared statement denying involvement in the incident though eventually admitted involvement but tried to blame Daniels for the stabbing.
Daniels, 26, of Castleway, Hindley, was drunk when arrested and when told he was being arrested for attempted murder said: “Ha ha, no way.”
The two men pleaded guilty to wounding with intent, robbery of keys and possessing the knife and were both sentenced to a total of 10 and half years’ imprisonment. Wright also admitted taking a car without consent and received six months consecutively. The defendants, both have previous convictions
Paul Becker, defending, said: “It was a truly horrific attack and he is truly sorry for what he did following a combination of drink and sleeping pills. He would say he was off his mind.”
Wright’s partner recently gave birth to their third child but he has not seen him and realises it is his own fault that he will not do so for a long time.
Defence barrister Steven Swift said that Daniels was also remorseful and understands how harrowing the incident must have been. He has made good progress on remand in prison in addressing the problems which led to the offences.