Victim ‘nearly died’ in alley knife attack

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A MAN almost died from stab injuries after being viciously knifed during an attack in a Sheffield alleyway, a court heard.

Josiah Foster, aged 18, of Burngreave Road, Burngreave, is accused of attempting to murder his former friend Darren Helliwell, 24, who intervened when Foster rowed with Jade Wardle, the mother of his two young children.

Sheffield Crown Court heard Foster told Darren he was ‘going to get bang-banged’ before returning with accomplices and stabbing his victim in his chest, thigh and back with a six-inch blade in an alleyway off Somerville Terrace in Walkley.

Fiona Swain, prosecuting, said Darren pleaded with Foster to stop as he was stabbed repeatedly.

She said Darren’s death would have been ‘inevitable’ if he hadn’t been rushed to the Northern General Hospital. She told jurors: “The intention was to kill, not simply to wound.”

But Foster claims he used the blade in self-defence after Darren came after him with the knife and dropped it on the ground.

Giving evidence, Darren contradicted his police statement given just hours after the incident, telling the court Foster’s accomplices were responsible for his injuries instead.

Ms Swain said Jade had taken her son and daughter to see Foster, their dad, at his mother’s house on nearby Springvale Walk on February 7, but returned in the early evening to her home on Somerville Terrace without the youngsters and “in a state of distress”.

Darren was outside the house with friends when Foster appeared and began arguing with Jade. Witness Craig Sutton said he was “waving a knife around”.

Darren and Craig went after Foster, who shouted: “You’re going to get bang-banged - I’m going to get my boys.”

Ms Swain said Foster returned just before 10.30pm with five or six accomplices wearing hoodies and armed with bats, sticks and knives.

Darren was confronted as he was leaving his friend Billie O’Hara’s house across the road.

One of the group shouted, ‘Come on then, get him’, Ms Swain said, adding Foster stabbed him first in his left side.

But in court, Darren - who has convictions for robbery and assault - denied Foster stabbed him, telling jurors: “Some people came from behind and stabbed me. I don’t know who they were.”

He had told police on February 9: “I saw Josiah move his right arm higher - he then used the knife to stab me.”

Ms Swain told Darren: “You’re prepared to say anything to extricate Mr Foster from stabbing you, for whatever reason.”

Foster denies attempted murder, wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and possessing an offensive weapon.

The trial continues.