Man jailed for stabbing Peterborough shopkeeper outside store in ‘feral’ and abhorrent’ attack

Jailed: Thomas Baldwin
Jailed: Thomas Baldwin

A man who stabbed a shop worker in the chest following a late night argument has been locked up for six years.

Thomas Baldwin’s behaviour was described as ‘feral’ and abhorrent’ by his own barrister as he was jailed at Peterborough Crown Court today (Thursday).

The court heard how 29-year-old Baldwin - who has served time in a young offenders institute for manslaughter in the past - attacked the manager of the Welland Mini-Mart on Scaffold Drive at about 10.30pm on July 13 this year.

Edward Hollingsworth, prosecuting, said Baldwin, of no fixed abode, was well known to staff at the store after incidents of shoplifting in the past.

Mr Hollingsworth said Baldwin had been seen banging on the shop windows earlier in the day, before returning later. He shouted racial abuse towards the shop worker, before telling the victim ‘come out here and I’ll kill you.’

Mr Hollingsworth said: “A friend of the victim was also inside the store. He exited to speak with the defendant and tell him to leave. When he did, the defendant pulled a knife from his waistband and lunged towards him. He fled, fearing for his life, back into the store, shouting about the defendant having a knife.”

Mr Hollingsworth said the victim then dashed outside, and knocked Baldwin to the floor. Baldwin then reached out and stabbed him in the side of the chest.

The court heard Baldwin said the victim was armed with a knuckle duster.

Baldwin then fled the scene.

The shop manager suffered a stab wound to his chest measuring 5cm by 1cm. He was taken to hospital for treatment.

A public appeal was put out to try and find Baldwin - but he was not found until the end of August.

He was found at a house in Lincolnshire, with his bag containing a large machete. The court was told the machete was not the knife used in the attack.

Mr Hollingsworth said Baldwin initially told police he had acted in self defence, and stabbed the victim with keys - but later admitted his role in the attack.

The court was told Baldwin had a large number of previous convictions - mainly for theft and dishonesty.

However, in 2007 he was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 12 months. The defendant had assaulted the victim, beating him to the groudn and kicking him in the head.

A year later, he was convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, after attacking a taxi driver.

Last year he was sentenced for theft and public disorder matters involving shoplifting offences. The court was told when he was challenged by shop staff, he had threatened to stab them with needles.

Fiona Robertson, defending said: “I don’t seek to minimise the acts which were quite plainly feral and abhorrent.

“The defendant has pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

“He has sought to settle himself into prison life, and has completed an anger management course.

“He has also gained employment on the prison wing as a cleaner.

“He has expressed remorse for his actions.”

However, Judge Sean Enright, sentencing, said: “I don’t believe there is remorse.”

Judge Enright said the offence was ‘plainly racially motivated’ and had been premeditated, as Baldwin had returned to the shop, armed with a knife.

He was jailed for six years, with an extended licence period of three years after pleading guilty to wouding with intent. Baldwin will be eligible for parole at the two thirds mark of the sentence.