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Thursday, 31 July 2014

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Axeman attacked woman in her own home

An axeman has been jailed after he burst into a woman’s flat and demanded cash in a row over an unpaid drugs debt.

Stephen Chambers photo
Stephen Chambers

Stephen Chambers, 26, forced his way into the woman’s home in Whitehaven shouting “give me the money or the blues” while brandishing the 1ft weapon. He then grabbed her by the throat and left her struggling to breathe.

Carlisle Crown Court heard how the terrified woman had earlier rung two friends saying she was worried something was going to happen.

“They heard banging on the door and raised voices,” prosecutor Anthony Longworth said.

“[Chambers] forced his way in by putting his hands against her and she was pushed backwards. Her head hit the wall and he ran upstairs.”

Mr Longworth said Chambers, of Bransty Road,Whitehaven, was threatening to “smash the place up” and the woman was shouting at him to leave.

“She put her phone on speaker phone so he could hear she was calling the police,” he said. “She hoped that would make him leave but he grabbed her around the neck and began to strangle her.”

The woman couldn’t breathe and Chambers then grabbed her phone – still connected to the police – and left.

“The two witnesses were very frightened,” Mr Longworth said. “They left as soon as they could. They heard her calling police so believed she would be OK.”

The victim, who suffered bruising around her neck, went to hospital because she was having difficulty swallowing, he added.

Chambers was arrested and told police the woman owed him money and he had gone to collect it. He denied there was any violence and said she must have fallen downstairs as she was “unstable and erratic”.

Greg Hoare, defending, said Chambers’ judgement had “completely deserted him” when he went round with the axe.

“He has another side to his character and has kept out of trouble for two years,” he said. “He was turning his life around.”

Judge Paul Batty QC said Chambers had terrorised the people involved and it was “perfectly plain that you were endeavouring to enforce a drug debt of £20”.

“You went round with an axe,” he said. “You terrorised her and grabbed her round the neck by the throat.”

Chambers, who admitted affray and assault, was jailed for two years and three months.

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