Man jailed for hitting woman with axe and threatening elderly man in Peterborough

A man who used an axe to seriously assault a woman - leaving her with a fractured skull - and threaten an elderly man has been jailed for 18 years.

Friday, 16th March 2018, 12:14 pm
Updated Friday, 16th March 2018, 1:20 pm
Stephen Woodward

The court heard how Stephen Woodward (43) approached an elderly man in Wesleyan Road, Dogsthorpe, and demanded money on May 14, 2016.

When the man declined he pulled an axe from his trousers and threatened to “take his head off.”

A local resident stepped in and confronted Woodward, who fled to a house in St Paul’s Road, Peterborough.

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A short while after, a woman in her 30s turned up at the address to visit a friend. Woodward became agitated at her presence and lashed out with the axe, hitting her over the head and causing serious injuries.

The victim’s friend went to get help from a neighbour but before he could raise the alarm Woodward had stolen a bike and left the scene.

Six days after the rampage Woodward and the axe were found at a property in Northamptonshire. He was arrested and recalled to prison.

Woodward, of no fixed abode, admitted GBH with intent but denied attempted robbery.

However, he was found guilty of attempted robbery last month and was sentenced yesterday (Thursday, March 15) at Peterborough Crown Court.

Detective Constable Josh Coe said: “Woodward is violent and unpredictable and made a habit of targeting the vulnerable.

“I’d like to commend the brave man who stepped in when the elderly man was in obvious danger: without his actions this story might have been completely different.

“The female victim suffered a fractured skull and required surgical treatment to remove bone fragments from her brain. This just goes to show the lengths Woodward was prepared to go to in order to get his own way.

“I would also like to hugely commend her for her bravery during her recovery and thank her for co-operation with the police during such a complex and long-lasting investigation, aggravated by the need for ongoing neurological care.”