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  1. ITV Report

Would-be robber jailed after fracturing woman's skull with axe in Peterborough

Stephen Woodward admitted GBH with intent. Credit: Cambridgeshire Police.

A would-be robber who used an axe to fracture a woman's skull and threaten an elderly man has been jailed for 18 years.

Stephen Woodward, who has no fixed address, admitted GBH with intent and was convicted of attempted robbery - a charge he had denied.

Peterborough Crown Court heard that he approached the elderly man in Wesleyan Road, Peterborough, to demand money in 2016.

When he declined, the 43-year-old pulled an axe from his trousers and threatened to "take his head off".

A resident stepped in and confronted Woodward who fled to a house in St Paul’s Road, Peterborough.

Later, a woman in her 30s turned up at the address to visit a friend but Woodward became agitated at her presence and lashed out with the axe, hitting her over the head and causing serious injuries.

The victim’s friend went to get help from a neighbour but before he could raise the alarm Woodward had stolen a bike and left the scene.

Six days after the rampage Woodward and the axe were found at a property in Northamptonshire. He was arrested and recalled to prison.

“Woodward is violent and unpredictable and made a habit of targeting the vulnerable. I’d like to commend the brave man who stepped in when the elderly man was in obvious danger: without his actions this story might have been completely different.

“The female victim suffered a fractured skull and required surgical treatment to remove bone fragments from her brain. This just goes to show the lengths Woodward was prepared to go to in order to get his own way.

“I would also like to hugely commend her for her bravery during her recovery and thank her for co-operation with the police during such a complex and long-lasting investigation, aggravated by the need for ongoing neurological care."

– Detective Constable Josh Coe