Woman saved by watch in horrific meat cleaver attack

The victim had been playing basketball at Nelson Mandela Park in Leicester Credit: BPM Media

A woman was lucky to escape serious injury after a man swung a meat cleaver at her arm, striking her watch. 

The incident happened near Nelson Mandela Park in Leicester city centre, where the woman had been playing basketball with friends.

As she walked home along Sawday Street she noticed Harpal Bains, 43, and two others in a silver Range Rover, smoking with the windows open.

She asked a woman in the back seat if she could have a cigarette paper and one was given to her.

Bains, of Cherry Brook Close, Beaumont Leys, Leicester, then had a brief conversation with the victim and asked: "What have you got for me?" Believing he was about to rob her, she replied: "You're not going to take anything from me."

Bains reached into the door pocket and pulled out a meat cleaver, got out of the car and chased her down the road.

As she fled in terror she tripped and fell. During a sentencing hearing at Leicester Crown Court on Monday, prosecutor Neal Bannister told the court: "She fell on the road in her panic to get away.

"She held up her arm to try to protect herself and he swung the meat cleaver onto her arm, where by chance it struck her watch.

"Quite clearly, had it not been for that lucky chance serious injury would have been caused."

The woman fled and reported the incident.

Police were able to trace Bains easily as the Range Rover was seen on CCTV and it was registered in his disabled mother's name.

The vehicle was provided to her under a mobility scheme.

He was arrested three days later and a search of his home recovered the meat cleaver as well as some cannabis.

He told Leicestershire Police there was an altercation but that he only got out of the Range Rover to shout at the woman because she had racially abused her.

But he was shown CCTV of him swinging the meat cleaver at the woman and he refused to answer any further questions.

Bains, who had previous convictions including actual bodily harm three years ago, pleaded guilty to the three charges - intending to cause grievous bodily harm, carrying a bladed article and possessing class B drugs.

His barrister, James Varley, said Bains had been in the car with his cocaine dealer and that he was high at the time of the attack, which may have led to what happened.

Mr Varley said: "He was in no fit state and may have misinterpreted what was said."

He said Bains received a carer allowance because of his mother's illness.

He said that when Bains was a child he suffered a "traumatic experience" that led to post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety.

He said he was now clean of drugs, having been in custody since his arrest.

Judge Ebrahim Mooncey, sentencing, told Bains it was "beyond belief" that he had acted the way he had and questioned why Bains had a meat cleaver in his car. He said: "Nobody needs that sort of item in their car.

"She runs away and you start chasing her, you approach her and you swing down on her arm. The watch was her saviour.

"You have to think about what the chances are of that happening and the immense consequences if you had been successful. It's beyond belief that you could do that."

He jailed him for two years and three months for the incident, which happened in the early evening of Tuesday, June 13.