Blackpool man left with guts ‘hanging out’ and unable to breath in violent attack

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Paul Barker was stabbed ‘almost all the way through his body’ in vicious attack in Blackpool

 

The air ambulance was seen arriving at the scene
The air ambulance was seen arriving at the scene

A man had to learn to walk, talk and breathe again after being lured to an alley and knifed through his stomach in an unprovoked attack in Blackpool.

Paul Barker, 37, suffered life threatening injuries when he was stabbed “almost all the way through his body” by Joshua Kenny on August 31 2020.

Kenny, 28, has been sentenced to 15 years after he knifed Mr Barker straight through his stomach to rob his mobile phone and £140 benefits money.

The woman who set up the robbery has been jailed for 11 years and two months.

Preston Crown Court heard at around 6pm, Mr Kenny approached a woman outside a shop who looked like a drug user – later identified as Suzanne Cleaver, 37.

He asked her if she knew where he could score and she told him to come back in 10 minutes and a man would be along.

When Mr Barker returned, he noticed a gate was open and Cleaver led him through.

Without saying a word, Kenny got Mr Barker in a headlock and started attacking him, as Cleaver watched on shouting orders.

Mr Barker managed to break free and handed over his money. As he stumbled from the alley he saw his intestines hanging out of the deep gash in his abdomen.

He staggered out to Egerton Road and collapsed on the pavement.

A man and woman came to his assistance using towels to stem the blood which was coming from wounds to his abdomen and neck, and calling for an ambulance.

The woman was afraid her children, who were nearby, may be about to witness a man bleeding to death in the street, the court heard.

Mr Barker was taken to Royal Preston Hospital where he was placed on the Critical Care Unit.

He had a 5-6cm stab wound which penetrated his stomach, causing the contents to spill into his abdomen, severed a major artery and caused damage to his liver.

Recorder Daniel Prowse, sentencing, said: “It was plainly a very, very deep stab wound which went almost all the way through that man.”

Mr Barker woke up in hospital with tubes attached to him.

He had to undergo rehabilitation to learn new breathing techniques as he was unable to open his mouth properly to eat, breathe or swallow.

In a victim statement he said he had realised the importance of life, after coming close to death.

He said he was thankful to wake up in hospital and grateful to the NHS for saving his life.

He said: “I continue to grow stronger and take nothing for granted as you never know what is hidden in an alley.”

Police found Kenny close to the scene of the attack, with a fresh bleeding injury to his hand. He told officers: “I don’t give a f*** bro. Whatever man. It’s not my fault he got slotted.”

Kenny pleaded guilty to Section 18 wounding with intent and robbery.

Cleaver pleaded guilty to robbery.

Recorder Prowse said: “This is an extremely violent and extremely serious offence. There was no preamble, no warning. There was simply launching into what could have been a fatal attack with a weapon. “

Cleaver’s role was “integral to the offence” luring Mr Barker to the alley and remaining present during the attack, he said.

The recorder added the knife was “a highly dangerous weapon” which passed right through the victim’s stomach causing the contents to spill out.

“There couldn’t be a more dangerous weapon”, he said.

Kenny, of Knowle Avenue, Blackpool, was sentenced to 11 years and two months in custody with an extra four years on licence following his release.

Cleaver, also of Knowle Avenue, Blackpool, was jailed for seven years and two months for her part in the robbery.