Devon

Drugs gang jailed for stabbing rival 18 times in Exeter

The convicted me and the victim Image copyright Devon and Cornwall Police
Image caption Top row (L-R): William Toohey, Bart Wrighton, Liam O'Brien, Callum Cheetham. Bottom row (L-R): Matthew Henney, Karl Mainard, Drew Morgan and the victim Connor Cain

Seven members of a drugs gang have been sentenced after a rival gang member was stabbed 18 times as he slept.

Exeter Crown Court heard Connor Cain, 19, was left for dead after the attack in the city in April 2016 but survived.

While treating his wounds in hospital, doctors found more than £3,000 worth of drugs concealed in his rectum.

One of the attackers boasted on Facebook afterwards, writing: "Ha, ha, ha. I stabbed the kid and the blade snapped so I could not pull it out."

The seven men, who are from Liverpool and Devon, received sentences ranging from one year in jail, suspended for two years, to 15 years' imprisonment.

Cain was jailed for three-and-a-half years last July for possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply.

The court heard he was blinded by pepper spray before being attacked by at least four men who were wearing masks or hoods.

Cain suffered severe injuries including a four-inch deep chest wound.


The convicted men

  • William Toohey, 19, Tara Park, Liverpool; 15 years in custody, after he went on the run and failed to turn up for court to face trial - found guilty of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
  • Bart Wrighton, 22, of Trafalgar Close, Plymouth; 13-and-a-half years custody - pleaded guilty to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply and possession of a mobile phone in prison.
  • Liam O'Brien, 22, of Overbury Street, Liverpool; 13 years custody - pleaded guilty to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm
  • Callum Cheetham, 22, of East Prescott Road, Liverpool; 13 years custody - pleaded guilty to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply.
  • Matthew Henney, 21, of Eaglehall Road, Liverpool; 10 years custody - pleaded guilty to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm
  • Karl Mainard, 39, of Russell Walk, Exeter; 2 years custody - pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding
  • Drew Morgan, 28, of Wynford Road, Exeter; 1 year in custody, suspended for 2 years - pleaded guilty to assisting an offender by letting the gang use his home as a base.

After the attack, Matthew Henney boasted about what he had done on Facebook by sending messages to two girls he knew in Liverpool saying: "There was only the handle left.

"He was only a little London muppet. He should not have tried to start. I warned him."

The court heard the assault was due to a rivalry between a group of drug dealers from Liverpool who had been operating around Devon and Cornwall.

Judge Mr Justice Sweeney told the offenders: "The events in the flat must have been entirely terrifying. He suffered terrible injuries which would have been fatal if he had not received immediate treatment. It was good fortune that he did not die."

"There was pre-planning and a significant degree of premeditation. You were all involved in Class A drugs gang which decided to see off opposition on what you considered to be your turf."