Lancaster knife woman hid in home of vulnerable man, 64, with learning difficulties for FOUR DAYS and repeatedly slashed him

Ripley Court, Lancaster
Ripley Court, Lancaster

A vulnerable pensioner with learning difficulties was slashed six times by a woman who hid in his flat for several days before the alarm was raised .

The 63-year-old's horrific ordeal only came to light when his only friend contacted police over his concerns, prompting them to attend his home.

At first he told officers he had caused himself the injuries by falling over, but defendant Hayley Smith, 38, of no fixed abode, was then found hiding in a cupboard and was arrested.

READ MORE: Teenager, 16, among two injured in knife attack at a Preston house

The terrified man then told officers about her repeated knife attacks over a four day period, telling them: "She cut me up".

The attacks left him with two lacerations to his left wrist and forearm that were 4cm long and 3cm deep.

The worst was to his hand where a 5cm knife wound, running cm deep, had cut through two tendons and left them exposed.

He also had various scratches and grazes, a laceration to his finger, a 3cm wound above both knees and two cuts to right thigh area that were 1cm and 2cm long.

Smith has pleaded guilty to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and is now starting a seven year and four month jail term.

Prosecuting, Peter Killen, said on March 26, police attended the victim's flat in Ripley Court, Lancaster, as concerns had been raised by his friend four days earlier.

"He added: " Regrettably the police didn't secure entry until four days later.

"The premises is independent assisted living accommodation. He allowed police in and they could see he was in a lot of pain and injured. There was noticeable swelling to his face, he was wearing bloodstained clothes and his hair was matted with blood.

"They asked him about those injuries. At first he said he did it himself.

"The defendant was found hiding in a cupboard in the hall and police noted he appeared to be fearful after she was arrested. He went on to say the defendant had assaulted him using a knife."

The court heard the victim was diagnosed with learning difficulties several years ago and was socially isolated, living alone and playing on his X-Box.

He only had the friend who raised the alarm and Smith herself.

Prosecutors say it would have been "quite obvious" to her as she had known him 30 years and would sometimes stay over at his flat, especially if she had been drinking.

The accommodation manager told police she was a "nuisance", creating numerous issues and being warned about her behaviour.

Smith, a convicted prostitute, stopped the man using his mobile phone to ring a doctor, meaning he could only use toilet roll to stem the blood.

She continued her attacks over four days.

Mr Killen said his hand injury meant he was unable to play his X-box, his only pleasure in life.

"He has since moved address and now lives with someone else because he doesn't want to live alone. He said he had nightmares and had started to take sleeping tablets.

"Finally he said he wanted her to get help, and that she should go to hospital rather than prison. He had been trying to support her because of her problems."

Smith has 46 convictions for 100 offences, including an arson on her own school as a youth, and wounding someone with scissors in 2005.

Defending, Tom Lord said she herself was vulnerable, due to mental health issues, and that she had lost her temper.

Recorder Kate Bex QC said her issues were not of a level where she could say it was linked to these offences.

She added: " He was undoubtedly vulnerable, in supported living, and feeling social isolated.

"He was only able to speak about what you did to him when he knew you was remanded in custody.

"He told police that you had 'cut him up'.

"He also told police you had been drunk and it may be your ability to cope had been worsened by some photo you received, but none of that excuses how you treated him.

"He says he tried to stop you but you were much stronger than him."