A WITLEY man who disembowelled a neighbour with a carving knife after being confronted over his behaviour, faces a life sentence after being found guilty of attempted murder. Brian Ferguson, 44, plunged the blade into John Taylor's stomach after the 25-year-old knocked at his door during a long-running dispute. Luckily, fellow residents managed to wrestle Ferguson off the defenceless window cleaner before he could use the meat cleaver in his other hand. The macabre attack was the culmination of a dispute between Ferguson and village residents after he beat up a frail old man on a bus in the village. Regulars at the Witley Working Men's Club were furious when pensioner Colin Palmer, 75, known as "Specks", staggered in with his face covered in blood. Mr Taylor told Snaresbrook Crown Court how he banged on Ferguson's door in Roke Lane at 9-30 pm on July 21 last year to remonstrate with him about the unprovoked attack. He told the court: "The door was opened and I got stabbed straight away. "No one said anything. I did not realise I was stabbed at first. I just felt the blood running down my legs then I fell backwards. "He sat astride me then pulled out an another knife from his waist and tried to use that as well. "He had both knives above me and I had hold of his wrists. When I came round I was in intensive care." Witnesses saw Mr Taylor's bowels emerging from his stomach, and he spent several weeks in hospital with the life threatening injury. He has been unable to return to work since the attack, but received £700 from villagers who had a "whip round" for him at the club. Nicholas Wood, prosecuting, told how Mr Taylor only survived the attack because of the bravery of two of his friends, who were injured themselves as they dragged Ferguson off him. Mr Wood said: "Andrew Black's thumb was cut open in the struggle as he wrestled the knife out of Ferguson's grip. "Ian Gatford also received cuts to his hands after Ferguson pulled out a third concealed knife.' Mr Gatford, president of the working men's club, said Mr Taylor told him "I don't want to die" as he attempted to stem the blood with a towel. An angry mob forced Ferguson to retreat to his home before smashing his windows and kicking in his front door before police arrived. When interviewed by police, drunken Ferguson admitted to detectives that he planned to "chop off" Mr Taylor's head with the cleaver. Ferguson, who has past convictions for violence, claimed he was merely "warning" Mr Taylor, after being punched earlier in the evening. The roofer denied stabbing Mr Taylor in the lower left abdomen, telling jurors the injury must have occurred accidentally while he was sat astride the victim, struggling with Mr Black and Mr Gatford. But last Friday the jury convicted him of attempted murder and two counts of unlawful wounding after almost 12 hours of deliberations. Ferguson had also admitted battery to bus driver Roger Routledge and assault occasioning actual bodily harm on Colin Palmer. Judge Alan Greenwood told Ferguson: "You have been convicted of very serious offences indeed. The only sentence open to the court is imprisonment for life. "Inevitably it will mean a long period in prison, the only question is how long." Ferguson bowed his head as he was led away and his 21-year-old girlfriend left in silence. He will be sentenced on April 8. Outside court a delighted Mr Taylor said: "I am glad he got what he got, I am well chuffed. "I think everyone in the village will be pleased as they wanted him thrown out."
Man in murderattempt faceslife in prison
Friday 18th March 2005 12:00 am