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A man who viciously attacked and blinded another man in Southend has received an extended sentence of more than 17 years as part of an investigation led by our Major Crime Team.
The victim, a man in his 20s, had been walking along London Road with friends around 11.30pm on Thursday 20 August 2020, when he was suddenly approached by two men armed with machetes.
He was subjected to a violent, targeted attack which left him with severe face, head and back injuries. Both attackers then fled the scene.
Minutes later, the victim was found by officers responding to an unrelated call near to the Odeon cinema.
He was taken to hospital in a serious condition and despite the best efforts of medics, lost sight permanently in both eyes.
A second man, Sam Jarman-Hall, 41, of Whittington Road, Brentwood, was also found critically injured near to College Way.
He was taken to hospital but died from his injuries the following week.
During our investigation, Jarman-Hall was identified by witnesses as one of the attackers.
CCTV footage of the incident confirmed that he had fatally injured himself with the blade he was carrying. An inquest ruled his death as death by misadventure, due to the risk he had taken voluntarily.
A machete used in the attack was recovered by officers in a nearby yard and analysis confirmed traces of the victim’s blood on the blade.
DNA evidence from the second attacker, Lenny Draper, 27, of Sheepen Road, Colchester, was also found on the weapon.
On Thursday 24 February 2022, Draper was charged with GBH with intent, affray, possession of an offensive weapon and possession of cannabis.
He appeared at Basildon Crown Court on 8 April where he plead guilty to the offences.
His plea was accepted and yesterday, Thursday 19 May, he was sentenced to 12-and-a-half years in jail with five years on extended licence at Southend Crown Court. He will serve two thirds of his sentence before he is considered for parole.
Senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Lisa Hurrell said:
“This was an extremely violent incident and one of the worst injuries I have ever seen. I have no doubt that both attackers set out that night to cause serious harm to the victim.
“In a matter of seconds, one man received life-changing injuries and another fatally-injured himself; that’s two families who have had to face the devastation that knife crime brings.
“Everyone that worked on this case has played a part in getting this result and we’re really proud that Draper is now behind bars and has joined the list of people rightfully paying for their crimes.
“There is simply no excuse for carrying dangerous weapons and we’ll never stop working hard to take them, and anyone intent on using them, off our streets.”
A knife amnesty has been launched across Essex alongside the rollout of new branding on knife bins placed at 14 sites across the county.
The amnesty allows for anyone who wants to dispose of bladed weapons to do so safely and without fear of prosecution. The priority is for as many knives as possible to be taken off the streets of Essex.
Find out more on our website here.