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'I thought he was going to kill me': Alcohol-fuelled 'monster' attacked football fans in Shrewsbury with knives and hammer

By Sue Austin | Shrewsbury | Crime | Published:

A man who attacked two Oldham fans who were in Shrewsbury for a New Year’s Day football match has been jailed for five years and four months with an extended licence of two years.

Michael Heath, 59, of Drawwell Street, Shrewsbury, armed himself with two knives and a hammer and turned on his victims, knocking one unconscious and slashing the other with a blade.

At Shrewsbury Crown Court Judge Anthony Lowe said that Heath turned into a 'monster' when he had alcohol.

“It was only pure chance that the victims were not more seriously injured,” Judge Lowe said.

“You armed yourself with two knifes and a hammer and gratuitously attacked two innocent people.

"You pose a significant risk of causing serious physical harm through drinking.”

Heath admitted at an earlier hearing causing grievous bodily harm to Neil Dyer and actually bodily harm to Thomas Gregory on New Year’s Day 2018.

Judge Lowe determined that Heath posed a risk of further offending and imposed an extended sentence.

It means Heath must serve at least two thirds of the five year and four month jail sentence before going before the parole board. On his eventual release he will have an extended licence of two years.

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Mr Kevin Jones, prosecuting, said the two victims, were Oldham Athletic fans who had come into Shrewsbury for the New Year’s Day football match.

 
   
  

“They remarked about how good the atmosphere was at the match, in the town and in the pubs,” Mr Jones said.

They went for drinks in pubs after the game, ending up in the Grove pub in Belle Vue.

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“Heath was in the pub ‘mithering’ them about football. When last orders were called the barmaid asked Heath to leave and the two men assisted in asking him to leave,” Mr Jones said.

They left the pub and, close to a nearby chip shop, Mr Gregory heard a thud and saw Mr Dyer on the floor.

Heath lunged at Gregory with a knife and he had to put his hand up to stop being stabbed in the face, receiving a wound to his hand.

Gregory told police: “He was like a raving lunatic, I thought he had killed my friend and he was coming at me, I thought he was going to kill me.”

Members of the public called the police and Heath was arrested.

Mr Dyer had to had a cut to his left cheek glued in hospital and Mr Gregory needed four stitches in his hand.

Mrs Debra White for Heath, said her client could remember little or nothing of the attack. She said a psychologist’s report said Heath had alcohol use disorder syndrome. He had been drinking since the age of 13.

She said Heath had not had a drink since the beginning of December.

Judge Lowe said Heath had an appalling record of violence. He recognised that, when not in drink, he was a good member of the community, father and friend.

Sue Austin

By Sue Austin
Chief Reporter

Chief reporter of the Oswestry/Mid Wales office. Keen to hear your news.

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