Billericay man jailed for knife attack

A Billericay man has been jailed for 10 years after stabbing a friend in an unprovoked attack, leaving him with lifelong injuries.

Alex Crane, 24, had picked up a friend in his van on the night of Monday July 17 last year in the Margaretting Road area of Writtle.

A short time later, after the van veered off the road and crashed into a ditch, the victim was seen staggering along the road by witnesses.

Crane had stabbed him in the back with a knife, going through his lung, diaphragm, and into his spleen.

The victim’s injury was described as life-threatening, and he required a blood transfusion and surgery.

He later made a recovery, but continues to have breathing problems and will rely on medication for the rest of his life.

Crane called Essex Police Force Control Room in the early hours of Tuesday July 18, falsely claiming his van had been stolen.

He was arrested on Wednesday July 19 at a caravan park at his home address in Oak Lane, Billericay.

The victim said Crane, who he had considered a friend, had stabbed him without warning.

He said Crane had long been motivated by a delusion the victim had been involved with his girlfriend.

In a victim impact statement, he said he had been suffering flashbacks, adding: “Since the incident I have been suffering a lot of anxiety and paranoia.

“I am struggling to leave my house because I worry someone will hurt me again. I’m even finding it difficult to go to the car outside.

“He was supposed to be a friend and for no reason I ended up fighting for my life.”

Despite the evidence against him, Crane denied a single charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

He was unanimously convicted by a jury at Chelmsford Crown Court on Thursday January 25.

Appearing at the same court for sentence on Friday May 31, he was handed an extended sentence comprising 10 years imprisonment and two years on licence.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Hannah Gibbs, from Chelmsford CID, said: “This was an extremely serious assault which took place in a rural area, whereby the victim was isolated and left with no help.

“Had he not managed to get himself back onto the main road and been helped by the witnesses, the consequences could have been fatal.”