Thursday 29 September 2016

Army sergeant 'attacked fellow soldier with machete after pub argument'

Ben Mitchell

Published 04/04/2016 | 14:49

John Norwood arrives at Winchester Crown Court, where the Scots Guards soldier is accused of attempted murder, wounding with intent and attempted wounding with intent in connection with incident at Aldershot. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
John Norwood arrives at Winchester Crown Court, where the Scots Guards soldier is accused of attempted murder, wounding with intent and attempted wounding with intent in connection with incident at Aldershot. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Witness Ben Jack outside Winchester Crown Court where John Norwood, a Scots Guards soldier is accused of attempted murder, wounding with intent and attempted wounding with intent in connection with incident at Aldershot. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

An Army colour sergeant "hunted" a fellow soldier at their barracks and attacked him with a machete, almost slicing his arm off, following an argument in the pub, a court has heard.

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John Norwood, of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards, is accused of searching for his victim, Lance Sergeant James Warnock, for several hours at their barracks in Aldershot, Hampshire, before finding him in his bedroom where he struck him with "slashing blows".

The 38-year-old is accused of the attempted murder of L/Sgt Warnock, 24, who suffered a severe wound to his shoulder as well as wounds to his hands and wrist when he tried to defend himself.

David Richards, prosecuting, told Winchester Crown Court that Norwood had previously gone to the wrong room, belonging to Craftsman Nicholas Wood, 24, and swung the machete, used by the army for clearing foliage, at him as he lay in bed, slicing the duvet, although he did not hurt him.

When he realised he had the wrong person, Norwood continued his hunt until he located the room of his intended "target" at 5am, about one-and-a-half hours later, the jury was told.

Mr Richards said the attack at Mons barracks followed a confrontation in The George pub in Aldershot town centre which began as Norwood slapped L/Sgt Warnock around the face before they appeared at first to overcome their differences.

Mr Richards continued: "But it's clear the accused wasn't happy after all with the way things had ended with Mr Warnock and he was clearly in a bad mood."

He said that after banging his fists on the bar and pointing at L/Sgt Warnock, the defendant went up and confronted him which ended with L/Sgt Warnock punching Norwood twice, knocking him to the ground.

The court heard that one of the victim's friends called Norwood a "mad pellet" during the incident.

Both men were then taken outside by bouncers.

Mr Richards said: "Angered by the events in the pub, the accused stewed on events after returning to camp and he went to the stores.

"He knew, because he was a storesman, what was in the stores, he went to fetch a weapon, not a truncheon or a small knife but a very large and dangerous weapon, the machete.

"Having got the machete he went to find Mr Warnock, he went to the wrong room, that was at 3.30am, already three hours after he had got back to the camp.

"His anger was such the incident with Mr Wood took place. He continued hunting for Mr Warnock and eventually when he found him, he swung at him, a slashing blow with the machete as the man tried to defend himself."

Mr Richards said that L/Sgt Warnock "grabbed him in a bear hug, shouted at him to stop and said: 'Look at the state of us, we need to go to the guards' room.' This prompted Mr Norwood to come to his senses."

The pair went to the guards' room where an ambulance was called and the paramedic who treated L/Sgt Warnock described his injuries as a "half sliced-off arm".

Mr Richards said that Norwood, of Hill Road, Glasgow, told police in interview that he had not intended to hurt L/Sgt Warnock and said he had been "bottled" by him in the pub, not punched as the prosecution claims.

Norwood denies the attempted murder of L/Sgt Warnock and an alternative charge of wounding with intent as well as the attempted wounding with intent of Craftsman Wood.

Mr Wood, who was a craftsman in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers attached to the Scots Guards but who is no longer a serving soldier, said that he had seen Norwood in the pub earlier and the defendant had said to him and his friends: "Oh look, fatty, skinny and regular guy" but he said that it had not seemed to have been said "maliciously".

He said after returning to his accommodation, he was awoken at about 3am by the defendant kicking open his door looking for L/Sgt Warnock who was known as Jimmy.

He said: "He came into the room asking 'Where's Jimmy?' I replied 'I do not know'. I was laid under my sheets on my bed.

"He raised the machete over his head and brought it down on the bed. He raised it above his head in a clenched fist with the blade pointing upwards."

He said the defendant was "very angry" and had brought the machete down on to the bed with "maximum force" and would have struck his legs if he had not moved them quickly out of the way.

Guardsman Ben Jack, also of the Scots Guards, told the court that he had been in the pub with L/Sgt Warnock and had seen Norwood slap him.

He said that he went to the defendant and told him "that's not on".

Guardsman Jack said that Norwood then "gave me a cuddle, a playful bite on the ear".

He said that he saw L/Sgt Warnock then being "cornered" by the defendant but he did not know the reason for the disagreement.

He said: "Sgt Warnock felt threatened, cornered, and punched him. The first one knocked him back a little but the second one knocked him against the pillar."

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