Man jailed after blinding victim in Southend machete attack

Mick Ferris
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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.

The victim, a man in his 20s, had been walking along London Road with friends around 11.30pm on Thursday August 20, 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 the police 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 February 24, 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 April 8 where he pleaded guilty to the offences.

On Thursday May 19, 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 being 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.”

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.


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