Man nearly killed in hammer attack, court told

A 52 year old Cardigan man without any convictions for violence almost killed a man when he attacked him with a hammer and a knife.

Bruce Andrew McLaren hit Anthony Horscroft on the head with the hammer, fracturing his skull.

Then he stabbed him three times with a kitchen knife.

A judge said Mr Horscroft may well have died if Gwyneth Johnson had not taken McLaren in a headlock and prised the knife out of his hand, cutting herself in the process.

McLaren, whose address on court papers was “the camper van parked outside a company known as CDA, Cardigan,” admitted wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

James Jenkins, prosecuting told Swansea crown court that McLaren had been due to go on trial accused of attempted murder.

But Mr Horscroft declined to give evidence and the case had been dropped.

Mr Jenkins said Mr Horscroft had spent January 9 decorating his new home in Cardigan and later cycled to a friend’s house to drink vodka.

About 7.30pm he was invited to visit Gwyneth Johnson’s home for vodka and cider. McLaren and a woman called Pixie Hood were already there.

Mr Jenkins said a row broke out and at one stage Mr Horscroft had his hands around the defendant’s neck.

“We still don’t know what triggered it,” he added.

Mr Horscroft and McLaren went into the kitchen and McLaren could be heard screaming “come on, come on.”

Miss Hood told police she saw McLaren hit Mr Horscroft with the hammer three times before stabbing him.

Mr Jenkins said Mr Horscroft needed extensive surgery both at Withybush hospital, Haverfordwest, and the University of Wales hospital, Cardiff.

His injuries included punctures to the aorta, the main artery, the colon, pancreas and the small intestine.

Mr Jenkins said he still required treatment.

McLaren was arrested at the scene. In interviews he said he could not remember the incident but did not dispute what the witnesses had told police.

His barrister, John Hipkin, said it was a mystery why a man who had gone more than 50 years without harming anyone should display such severe violence.

The judge, Mr Justice Wyn Williams, said that without the brave intervention of Gwyneth Johnson and the skill of medical staff Mr Horscroft may well have died.

And if he had given evidence there was a strong chance McLaren would have been convicted of attempted murder.

“Horrific is an overused word, but not in this case,” he said.

McLaren was sentenced to 11 years.

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