Winsford man was left fighting for life after 'vicious' knife attack

7:00am Sunday 2nd February 2014

By Court reporter

A NORTHWICH man who left his victim’s intestines hanging out after a knife attack in Winsford has been jailed for nine years.

Leigh David Horton, 24, of Townshend Road, Lostock Gralam, pleaded guilty to a section 18 offence of causing grievous bodily harm to John Barry Morana at his Saxon Crossway home on October 6.

The court heard that Horton stabbed the 49-year-old victim three times – in his left hip, to the right of his chest, which collapsed his lung, and in his abdomen, which caused his intestines to protrude out his body.

Prosecuting, Owen Edwards said: “The defendant went around with the intention of robbing him of cannabis and money.

“He targeted his victim as a sometime low-level cannabis dealer.

“When his victim failed to succumb to his demands, he stabbed him three times.”

Morana was taken to hospital, where he remained for four days.

Mr Edwards said Mr Morana had settled down for a night in with his partner at their flat in Winsford when their door buzzer sounded.

“When he answered, it was Horton, who was asking whether he had any cannabis.

“He allowed him in, only to tell him that he didn’t have any and that he wasn’t doing it anymore.

“The defendant produced a knife and said he wanted ‘all the stuff’. He held the knife to Mr Morana’s throat. He was stabbed three times in the resulting scuffle.

“He was shouting at his partner to call 999 and also at his dog in an attempt to get his dog to bite the defendant.

“His partner was in a panic and ran to a neighbour’s house for help.”

Police later attended an address linked to Horton.

The 24-year-old tried to jump out a first floor window, before giving himself up to officers who threatened to taser him.

Mr Edwards said the effect of the attack haunted Mr Morana ‘every day’.

“He has given up work and is on benefits. He feels a lot of his family won’t come to his house anymore because they believe he’s involved in more serious offences that he really is.”

Horton was initially charged with attempted murder, but the charge was reduced at an earlier plea and case management hearing.

Sentencing, Judge Elgan Edwards QC, Recorder for Chester, described the attack as ‘vicious’.

DC Ross Hamilton of Cheshire Police said: “This was a violent attack, which left a man with serious injuries that have required treatment over a long period of time. It has affected him both physically and emotionally and will have a big impact on him for the rest of his life.

“The sentence handed down reflects the severity of the crime and I hope that it helps to bring about a degree of closure for both the victim and his family and helps him to move on with his life.

“It is also hoped that the time behind bars will allow the defendant to reflect upon his actions and the consequences for the victim.”

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