Pair jailed for knifing soldier

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TWO men involved in an horrific knife attack on a former Wigan soldier have been put behind bars for a total of 26 years.

Their robbery victim Paul Newman, was stabbed about 12 times and was rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries including blood filling his lung.

The knifeman, Anthony Webb, was jailed for 14 years and his accomplice Alex Garratt received 12 years.

Sentencing them Judge Nigel Gilmour, QC, said that many might consider it was almost a case of attempted murder.

Webb nearly escaped justice as at an earlier stage the Crown Prosecution Service discontinued the case against him but following pressure by prosecuting counsel and judiciary at Bolton Crown Court the decision was ultimately reversed.

Webb, 28, of Hawthorne Road, Deane, Bolton, and Garratt, 35, of West Point View, Bolton, both denied wounding with intent and robbery but were convicted by a jury after a trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

Phillip Curran, prosecuting, told the court that the incident happened just after midnight on July 13 last year after Wigan man Mr Newman was directed to a house in Park Street, Halliwell, Bolton, by a 30-year-old woman acquaintance as she wanted to buy drugs.

After he parked his brand new Ford Focus in the alley behind the house Webb and Garratt suddenly appeared. Garratt got in the rear seat and Webb stood by the driver’s door and demanded money and the keys to his car.

A struggled developed and Garratt sprayed 34-year-old Mr Newman with a pepper spray and Webb stabbed him in his top lip. Fearing for his life Mr Newman grabbed at the knife and punched Webb.

He was pepper-sprayed again and when Mr Newman struggled with Webb, Garratt got out of the vehicle and joined in the attack. The victim was stabbed about 12 times to his side, legs, chest and neck and his left middle finger was also lacerated down to the bone. The men made off with just £40.

Despite his injuries Mr Newman managed to get back into his car and drove to the Reflex Bar where he knew he would get help. The woman in the car demanded cash and he went to a nearby cash machine where he collapsed and was found by paramedics.

When Garratt’s home was searched they found the victim’s blood on his jacket and a watch had DNA from both Mr Newman and Webb. Two days later police raided a flat and found both men there.

Garratt claimed he had come across Webb fighting which was how he got the victim’s blood on him and he said Webb admitted stabbing the victim. Webb, who was picked out on an identity parade, denied being at the scene and claimed Garratt had blamed him to save his own skin.

The 30-year-old woman in the car was arrested but was never charged.