A MAN who was repeatedly stabbed in an unprovoked attack as he went to buy a loaf of bread has told of the moment he thought he was going to die.
Arthur Boland, 63, lost five pints of blood when he was stabbed eight times in the body with a kitchen knife in Upper Church Street, Douglas, early in the morning of Monday, July 11, last year.
He managed to stagger 30 yards to Athol Street where he gave the name of his attacker to a passer-by before he collapsed.
John Joseph Redmond, 23, of Hillside Avenue, Douglas, has been jailed for nine years after admitting wounding with intent and possession of an offensive weapon. Police to this day do not know the motive for the attack.
Mr Boland, whose son Gary died 10 years ago at the age of just 17, told the Manx Independent: ‘I thought I was going to die and join my son Gary.
‘I’m never going to forget it. I’ve always been an early bird and I was leaving the house to get a loaf of bread just after 7am. As I was walking down the avenue I saw Redmond coming out of his house opposite. He crossed the road on to the same side. He was 20 to 30 yards behind me.
‘People were up and about. It was light. As I crossed Circular Road towards Upper Church Street I looked behind me and he was still 10 yards behind. I had no idea what was going to happen in the next couple of seconds.
‘I felt two thuds in my back which I thought were punches. For a couple of seconds it felt warm and wet and then cold. Then Redmond was in front of me and I noticed these blades. He said words to the effect “you’re getting it”. I put my hands up to protect myself and he stabbed me in the stomach.
‘He ran off and I staggered towards Athol Street to get assistance. I needed to get Redmond’s name out. I saw my intestines hanging out and I had to hold them in. It was like looking at meat in an abattoir. I felt numb - I was in and out of consciousness.’
Passer-by Stuart Wilson, who was subsequently given a commendation by the Chief Constable, was first on the scene and undoubtedly saved his life, contacting the emergency services and keeping him talking.
‘I had slumped against the wall – I told him that John Redmond had done this to me and to tell the police,’ said Mr Boland, who was in the intensive care unit for two days after the attack and in hospital for nearly three weeks.
Some of the stab wounds were 7cm to 8cm deep and he has been left with permanent scars. But the emotional scars run far deeper.
He said he has suffered nightmares and flashbacks and he had been unable to work since the attack. ‘I am so wary. Whenever I walk anywhere I am jumpy and always looking behind me. It’s the simplest thing – if someone taps me on my shoulder I jump out of my skin.’
Mr Boland was in court on Friday to see his attacker jailed.
‘The Deemster said no amount of time will compensate for what I’ve been through. I think he should have got longer but the sentence was longer than expected. The delays and the time it has taken to come through to this point were very stressful and it has taken its toll on me,’ he said.
‘Words cannot express how I feel about Redmond. It is tricky when anybody asks me about the case. I appreciate their kind thoughts but I don’t always want to talk about it. I need to move on to another chapter.’
His son Stephen said: ‘We don’t want the focus to be on ourselves. The public need to be protected and need to be aware of what horrors this chap has done when, heaven forbid, he gets out.’
Mr Boland listed all those he wanted to thank including Mr Wilson, who he has yet to meet but has spoken to on the phone. ‘His prompt action allowed me to be here today,’ he said.
He also thanked all the doctors, nurses, paramedics and even the cleaners at Noble’s Hospital, DC Emily Butler and DS Brian Shimmin who investigated the attack, Paula Gelling of Victim Support and all the friends, neighbours and acquaintances who have stood by him. ‘Strangers have even offered to carry the shopping,’ he said.
Finally he paid tribute to his son Stephen. ‘He’s been my rock, he’s been there for me and I’m very grateful to him,’ he said.
Detective Constable Emily Butler said: ‘He is extremely lucky to be alive. It was an unprovoked attack. There was no motive whatsoever. Mr Boland has suffered not just physically but emotionally as well.’
Chief Constable Mike Langdon said the length of Redmond’s sentence reflected the severity of the offence. He paid tribute to the work of the detectives. ‘It was an outstanding investigation,’ he said.
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