Machete thug jailed for leaving friend needing surgery after violent attack in his Sunderland home

A dad was warned he could lose a finger after a savage machete attack by a man he thought was his friend.

Monday, 22nd February 2021, 4:08 pm
Benjamin Appleby

Benjamin Appleby lashed out with the deadly weapon when Callum Sawyer was socialising with him at his home in February 2019.

The 29-year-old attacker initially told police someone else was responsible for the violence, despite there being "blood all over the living room" and the machete being found down the back of his sofa.

Mr Sawyer, who held his hands up to protect himself during the attack, needed surgery and was told he may lose one of his fingers, which had been cut "down to the bone".

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Appleby, of Scoreby Close, Sunderland, later admitted wounding with intent and has now been jailed for five years and three months.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the men had been pals for "a considerable number of years" and had got together when Mr Sawyer, who was then living in Leeds, travelled to Sunderland for a visit.

Prosecutor Lee Fish told the court: "The defendant had picked him up from the station and they had gone to the defendant's house, which he shared with his girlfriend.

"There was a pleasant night had by all until the defendant, for no apparent reason, started to accuse Mr Sawyer of stealing one of his girlfriend's rings.

"The situation rapidly deteriorated and the defendant attacked Mr Sawyer in the living room with a machete.

"He struck him repeatedly with it and Mr Sawyer describes holding his hands up to defend himself and the machete then cut his finger."

The court heard Appleby called for an ambulance after the attack but tried to distance himself from the violence.

Mr Fish added: "Police looked in his house and saw blood all over the living room and found a machete down the back of the sofa.

"Scientific evidence demonstrated the defendant had in fact assaulted Mr Sawyer in that living room with the machete."

In a victim statement, Mr Sawyer said he had considered Appleby to be one of his closest friends and that he was attacked "for no reason".

Mr Sawyer said he suffered problems with infections and his injuries meant to struggled to help care for his new baby, who was born soon after the attack.

Mr Fish said Mr Sawyer had been warned he could lose a finger but there was no further evidence given to the court about the final outcome.

Judge Julie Clemitson told Appleby: "There was an eruption of violence during which you picked up a machete and used it to strike him repeatedly.

"The blows in the main were with the blunt edge, which caused bruising which would have been undoubtedly painful.

"One of the blows struck his hand and caused a deep wound to his finger."

Jamie Adams, defending, told the court in mitigation that drink and drugs had been taken that night and added: "He is desperately sorry that he behaved in the way he did.

"He is appalled at his behaviour."

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