Man jailed for attempted murder - Hemel Hempstead

16/12/2016

A man, who carried out a brutal 20-minute attack that left his victim with life-changing injuries, has been branded dangerous by a Judge.

Peter Harwood, aged 27, was given an extended sentence of 20 years at Luton Crown Court today, Friday, 16 December 2016, comprising of of 16 years imprisonment and four years extra on licence.

Judge Philip Bartle QC told him: "I am satisfied you intended to cause as much injury as you possibly could with your feet when you stamped on his head and torso. You intended to kill him. Then you just sat on his bed. You could have called for help, but you did not. You must have known then that this man was dying as a result of what you did to him."

Fortunately, a neighbour at the bedsit in Hemel Hempstead heard a disturbance and called police.

The Judge said that the medical evidence was that the victim would have died had he not received prompt medical attention. As it was, he was in hospital for three months and has been unable to work as a painter and decorator since. He now walks with a stick and lost his home because of his long stay in hospital. Judge Bartle said: "In short, your vicious attack on him has changed his life forever."

Harwood, from Edlyn Close, Berkhamsted, pleaded not guilty to attempting to murder the 59-year-old victim, on 28 May this year. He was convicted by a jury at Luton Crown Court last month.

During the trial, Harwood told how he had drunk 8-10 pints while watching the England match in the Full House pub in Hemel; it was one of the last friendlies before the Euros. Then he met up with a friend, who knew the victim, and it was decided to go to his flat to listen to music and have some more drinks. It was there he fell asleep on the victim's bed, and the other friend left. Harwood claimed he woke at about 6am and the victim was touching him inappropriately. He later made a more serious sexual allegation and also claimed the victim was holding a knife and he reacted to defend himself. But the Judge said he did not accept that account. "I accept you believed he had touched you, but I am sure he was never aggressive, and never posed any threat to you. You were much younger and fitter."

The Judge said over the next 20-minutes, Harwood inflicted injuries to the man, which included stabbing his ear, stamping on his chest fracturing three ribs, and stamping on his head causing a bleed on his brain. When police arrived, the victim was gasping for breath and blood was spattered several feet up the wall. Harwood was still at the bedsit and was arrested.

The victim said he had no memory of what happened that night until he woke up in hospital.

Oliver Doherty, defending, urged the court not to pass an extended sentence. "The defendant has asked me to publicly express his sorrow for the awful injuries he inflicted, but there is no pattern of such behaviour. If he was a serious risk it would have shown itself before. These are very specific circumstances. Earlier that day he had been offered a new job. If he had not fallen asleep on the bed that night, he would have probably taken up that job and been in a totally different situation. The serious aggravating feature is that he did not call the ambulance."

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