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Friday, 24 October 2014

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Cumbrian knife attack bully jailed without limit

An obsessive bully who repeatedly stabbed his ex-partner in a “murderous” attack was yesterday jailed indefinitely after judges rejected his original 17-year sentence as being too lenient.

David Heslop photo
David Heslop

David Heslop, 37, plunged a carving knife into Emma Wilson six times as their young son played nearby in their Cleator Moor home.

She only survived her injuries, which included punctures to her lung, stomach, and diaphragm, thanks to the prompt intervention of police and paramedics.

Heslop claimed he did not want to kill the 29-year-old but a jury convicted him of attempted murder.

In November last year, he was jailed for 17 years at Carlisle Crown Court. But that sentence, which would have allowed Heslop’s release on licence within eight years, was judged to be not tough enough by the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve QC, who referred the case to London Criminal Appeal Court.

After reviewing the evidence, Lady Justice Hallett, Mr Justice McCombe and Mr Justice Singh yesterday imposed an indefinite jail sentence for pubic protection.

An indefinite sentence is generally regarded as almost identical to a life term.

Heslop must now serve a minimum of 14 years before he can even apply for parole, which will only be granted if the authorities are convinced he is safe to release.

Miss Wilson, of Robert Owen Avenue, Cleator Moor, welcomed the tougher sentence, saying it meant she could get on with her life.

Speaking yesterday, she said: “I found out about it an hour ago when the police called to tell me.

“I’m absolutely chuffed.

“It means a lot to me and especially it means something for all the other people who suffer domestic violence. There is finally justice.

“I now feel that I have got a future and I can definitely get on with my life. David Heslop has got what he deserves.”

Miss Wilson, who spent three days in intensive care after the attack, said she was considerably helped by police officers Detective Sergeant Duncan Brooker and Detective Constable Ruth Greenhow and she now hopes to work as a volunteer with other victims of domestic violence.

The Appeal Court heard how Heslop had gone to Miss Wilson’s home on December 16, 2010, and then used a 7in carving knife to stab her as their son played in a nearby room.

At the time, a restraining order was in place, in theory preventing him from even approaching her.

Despite the frenzied attack, and her serious injuries, she was able to activate a domestic violence alarm installed in her home by police.

Lady Justice Hallett yesterday said Heslop had “intended to kill” his victim, and that only the swift response of the police to her distress call had saved her life.

She said of Heslop: “As a child, he was a thug and bully and he continues to be a particularly aggressive and violent adult.”

“The facts speak for themselves – the man is dangerous. Nothing but an indefinite sentence will give Miss Wilson or the public the protection they deserve.“He intended to kill her in her own home and took a knife with him for that very purpose. It was a murderous attack by a man totally out of control in her own home and with her child with her.”

Heslop, formerly of Piper’s Court, Whitehaven, had refused to accept his relationship with Miss Wilson was over and just days before the knife attack he had threatened to kill her or her new partner if she ever found one.

Stuart Pattinson, Senior Crown Prosecutor with the CPS in Cumbria, explained why the CPS had brought the case to the attention of the Attorney General.

“David Heslop is clearly a very dangerous man,” said Mr Pattinson.

“He carried out a horrifying assault on Emma Wilson, inflicting terrible injuries upon her.

“He carried out a pre-meditated attack with a knife whilst children were in the house.

“We took the view that David Heslop presented a very serious risk to the public.

“The increased sentence that has now been imposed means that David Heslop will remain in prison indefinitely to protect the public and will not be eligible to apply for parole for at least 14 years.

“He will remain in prison for as long as he is considered to be dangerous.”

He was grateful the Attorney General and the Court of Appeal gave such close attention to the case.

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