Judge clears ‘face slasher’

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A man accused of causing ‘horrendous injuries by slashing another man’s face with a razor blade or Stanley knife has been cleared because his alleged victim cannot be traced.

Phillip Fenton, 38, of no fixed address, and who has been remanded in custody, had pleaded not guilty to wounding the man with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm.

The incident took place on a Warwickshire travellers’ site in May.

But at an earlier hearing the court was told Fenton, previously of Brandon Lane, near Brandon, said when interviewed by the police that he had been acting in self-defence.

During that hearing Recorder Christopher Tickle observed: “A Stanley knife and a blade container was found on his person; and the victim, it would seem, was struck with a Stanley knife. The injuries are horrendous.”

But Nick Devine, defending, said Fenton’s case was that “the victim attacked him with the knife, and he managed to get it off him and then used it”.

So the case was adjourned for trial – but at a further hearing prosecutor Tim Green said it had been decided to offer no further evidence against Fenton.

He explained the allegation was that, after a falling-out on a travellers’ site, Fenton attacked his victim with a razor blade. But the only witness was the victim - and he has “disappeared”.

The police had made concerted attempts to track him down, including repeatedly calling his mobile phone number, visiting travellers’ sites, getting in touch with members of his family and even checking hospitals and other establishments.

One officer went to a drop-in centre which the victim visited and left his card asking Mr Wallen to call him.

When the officer returned to the centre the staff confirmed the victim had been in and had been given the card – but he had made no attempt to contact the officer.

“We have reached the conclusion it is going to be impossible to proceed to prosecute Fenton for this assault,” added Mr Green.

Recorder Stuart Sprawson formally entered a not guilty verdict in the case.