A THUG terrorised the residents of a Surrey village when he beat up a frail pensioner and tried to murder a neighbour with a meat cleaver, a court heard. Brian Ferguson, 44, battered bus driver Roger Routledge and passenger Colin Palmer, 75, during a journey through the countryside. When friends of the elderly man tracked down Ferguson at his home, he plunged a carving knife into John Taylor's stomach. Ferguson then sat astride 25-year-old Mr Taylor and tried to kill him with a meat cleaver, it is claimed. But the window cleaner's friends disarmed Ferguson and he fled into his flat. Snaresbrook Crown Court heard how an angry mob then smashed his windows and kicked his front door in until police arrived. Nicholas Wood, prosecuting, said the violence was the culmination of a dispute between Ferguson and residents of Witley, near Guildford, on July 21 last year. He said: 'Mr Palmer, known as Specks, staggered into the Witley working men's club in the afternoon with his face covered in blood. 'Not surprisingly people were angry that Ferguson had assaulted Mr Palmer, an old man.' Mr Wood told how three men, including neighbour Mr Taylor, went looking for Ferguson and confronted him outside his flat in Roke Lane. He said: 'Tempers ran high and no doubt words were exchanged at some volume. 'One of them, John Taylor, lost his temper and emotions got the better of him and he punched Ferguson on the nose.' An 'angry' Mr Taylor returned to Ferguson's flat later in the evening and Ferguson stabbed him in the abdomen with a large carving knife, it is claimed. Giving evidence, Mr Taylor told jurors: '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 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. He was trying to stick them in my upper chest. 'I felt weaker and knew I could not hold on to his wrists much longer. Then the next thing I knew he was off me. When I came round I was in intensive care.' The court heard that two of Mr Taylor's pals managed to drag Ferguson off him, but were themselves injured in the process. Andrew Black's thumb was cut open as he wrestled the knife out of Ferguson's grip, while Ian Gatford received cuts to his hands after Ferguson pulled out a third knife. Mr Wood said: 'After Ferguson retreated back to his flat he called the police to say there had been a stabbing and that he was being blamed for it. 'There were clearly people throwing things at the flat. The door was being kicked in and the upstairs window was broken by something thrown at it. But when police arrived they arrested Ferguson. Mr Taylor spent several weeks in hospital with a 'life-threatening' injury to his stomach as well as cuts to his hands. He has been unable to return to work since the attack. Ferguson, of Roke Lane, Witley, Surrey, denies attempted murder, wounding with intent and unlawful wounding, all against John Taylor, unlawfully wounding Andrew Black, and wounding with intent and unlawful wounding against Ian Gatford. He has admitted battery against Roger Routledge and assault occasioning actual bodily harm against Colin Palmer. • The trial continues.
Witley man denies intent to murder
Friday 4th March 2005 12:00 am