Man jailed for stabbing soldier - Luton

15/11/2013

A soldier who was on leave and in Luton town centre in the early hours was stabbed after challenging a young man who was insulting a woman.

Serviceman Paul Pryor was waiting in a queue at a chicken takeaway shop in Gordon Street when Ashley Perry began hurling insults at the young woman. When Mr Pryor told Perry "Leave it alone...stop spoiling everyone's evening" it led to him being stabbed in the bottom.

At Luton Crown Court today, Friday, 15 November 2013, Perry, 20, of Dorrington Close, Luton pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding and having a article with a blade or point.

Judge David Farrell QC, hearing the case, said the weapon was in fact a knife that Perry had taken out with him that night.

Louis French, prosecuting, said the stabbing happened around 4am on 04 September 2011, outside a chicken takeaway shop in Gordon Street. He said the incident had started inside the shop where Mr Pryor and a friend were waiting in a queue to get served. The defendant was there too who, at one point, got caught up in an argument which briefly spilled outside the shop.

Mr French said: "The defendant came back in and for some reason he was extremely abusive to a female customer, who was really upset at being called indelicate names.

The court heard it was then that Mr Pryor stepped in. Perry squared up to the soldier telling him: "I will take you up the road and see if you want to talk to me then."

The court was told Mr Pyror said: "If you want to start on someone, start on someone who will back it up." When Perry raised his arm, the soldier told him: "I am not intimidated by you."

The argument spilled outside the shop, said Mr French, who told the court that Mr Pryor told the defendant who was with others: "Leave it - you are just kids. If you start you are going to get beaten up." However, it was the soldier who found himself under attack from two other men who began punching him, said the prosecutor.

Mr French then said it was at that point, as Mr Pryor was trying to defend himself, that Perry came up behind him and stabbed him in the right buttock causing an inch deep wound. He inflicted another wound in the area of the soldier's hip bone before making off.

The court was told Perry gave himself up to police on 03 October 2011.

Nick Halloran defending said what had happened that night was out of character for Perry, who had been drinking more than he normally would. He had the knife with him, Judge Farrell was told, because a friend had recently been assaulted.

The court heard since the incident, Perry had moved away from the area of Luton where he had been living at the time and no longer associated with people who had been a bad influence on him. It had been a change of lifestyle for the young man, said the barrister that had also seen him start up a new business.

Passing sentence, Judge Farrell told Perry what he had done was to carry out: "cowardly attack."

He went on: "You stabbed him when he had his back to you. I accept your intention was not to cause him really serious harm, but you intended to cause him an injury."

The judge said Perry had used a flick knife that morning, which he described as an extremely dangerous weapon. He added: "You carried in your pocket on the streets of Luton an extremely dangerous weapon."

Perry was sentenced to 14 months in a young offenders institution.

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