Teenagers jailed after attack victim feared for his life

Liam Lennox and Billy Broadbent
Liam Lennox and Billy Broadbent
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Two teenagers who subjected a man to a terrifying raid and attack in his own home – one stabbing him in the face so hard the blade of the knife snapped off – have been jailed.

Liam Lennox and Billy Broadbent have each been given lengthy sentences after burgling the flat of a 62-year-old man in Blackpool.

They targeted him because he was a cross dresser.

The petrified victim told a court he feared he was going to die at the hands of the thugs.

The teenagers, both 17 at the time of the incident on March 18, have been jailed for more than 15 years in total.

But one support worker today said the victim will have been dealt a “life sentence.”

Preston Crown Court heard how the victim woke up to find Lennox and Broadbent in his room at the George Street flat.

Brett Gerrity, prosecuting, said Broadbent was brandishing two knives. The victim was subjected to insults about his sexuality and then stabbed in the face.

In a chilling warning Broadbent said: “I’m going to stab you up. I’m going to kill you.”

Broadbent then stabbed him to the abdomen and kicked him, but the bed quilt bore the brunt of the blows.

The victim pleaded with him to stop but Broadbent demanded: “Where’s your money or jewellery? Have you got any drugs?”

Lennox was seen rifling through drawers in the lounge and some property was taken.

The terrified victim managed to flee, flagging down a passing taxi and was later treated at hospital for a wound to his right cheek and a slash to the back of the hand.

A victim impact statement was read out to the court: “I honestly thought they were going to kill me.

“I can’t honestly think of any reason why anyone would want to do this to me.

“I don’t think I will ever get over what has happened. It has ruined my life”.

Sentencing Broadbent and Lennox, Judge Heather Lloyd said the pair’s behaviour was appalling, adding the victim, who used a female first name, had been targeted and there was a background of hostility towards cross dressers or homosexuals.

Lennox, 18, of Myrtle Avenue, Blackpool, was given six years and nine months youth custody with three years and three months extended licence to follow.

He had pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary, robbery and blackmail.

Broadbent, also 18, of St Alban’s Road, Blackpool, was given nine years youth custody, with five years extended licence to follow.

He had admitted aggravated burglary, wounding with intent and burglary.

Broadbent was on a youth rehabilitation order at the time.

Det Supt Mark Dickinson, of Blackpool Police, said: “The heavy sentences reflect the severity of this upsetting case.”

On March 18 this year the victim awoke to find the pair in his home and was insulted about his sexuality.

Nina Parker, pastor of Blackpool’s Liberty Church which supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people, said: “It’s 
really important that sentencing reflects it’s a hate crime.

“Really the victim has got a life sentence from it, that fear and trauma could be with him for the rest of his life.

“It is not acceptable to pick on someone because of their gender orientation.”

At the time of the incident, the police had been hunting the two defendants following a burglary at a flat in the Gorton Street hostel and Lennox had earlier been involved in a street robbery on an 18-year-old student off Elizabeth Street.

Julie Taylor, defending Lennox, said: “He was not the one who had a knife, brandished a knife or used any. He didn’t utter the insults.

“He had thought his co-accused was joking, not having realised he had a knife.

“He has never served a lengthy sentence before”.

Paul Humphries, defending Broadbent, said his client had put his time already spent in custody to good use by doing a victim awareness course.

He had also done work on drug misuse.

Mr Humphries added: “He didn’t have a recollection of what happened that night.

“There now appears to be the beginning of a change of view and a maturity setting in.

“He isn’t just looking out for himself, but looking to help others.

“He wishes to make amends with the victim through restorative justice.

“He is trying all he can to change.”

Judge Heather Lloyd said the violence in the case had been purely gratuitous.

She said both had appalling criminal records for such young men and had shown a complete disregard for court orders and sentences in the past.

She said of the victim: “I am sure you both knew of his sexuality, otherwise you wouldn’t have used that insult to him.

“I agree his home had been targeted.”

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