Judge shows mercy on attempted murder victims who perverted the course of justice

PUBLISHED: 17:13 24 January 2018 | UPDATED: 17:13 24 January 2018

Exeter Crown Court. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exeter crown court

Exeter Crown Court. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exeter crown court

Archant

Victims were so scared of attacker they blamed another man when making statements to the police.

A judge has shown mercy on the two victims of an attempted murderer who were so terrified of him they lied to try to protect him.

Daniel Morley and Richard Price both suffered serious injuries at the hands of Kyle Saville, who is now serving a 21-year sentence for his attacks on them.

Saville had damaged the door of Morley’s home in Barnstaple a week before the attack in March but they were so scared of him they blamed another man when they made statements to the police.

They identified a homeless man called Daniel Ward as the vandal, leading to him being arrested and held by police for four hours for questioning.

He was charged with criminal damage and his case was only dropped when the two men came clean shortly before his trial.

By that stage Saville had carried out his attacks at Morley’s home in Barbican Terrace, had been arrested, and was on remand in custody at Exeter Prison.

The normal penalty for perverting the course of justice is a jail sentence, but both men were let off without any punishment after a Judge ruled it was a ‘truly exceptional case’.

Saville, aged 26, of Lethaby Avenue, Barnstaple, denied attempting to murder Morley and wounding Price but was found guilty at a trial at Exeter Crown Court last year.

Morley, aged 34, of Sentry Corner, Bideford, and Price, aged 28, of Buttgarden Street, Bideford, admitted attempting to pervert the course of justice.

They were both conditionally discharged by Judge David Evans at Exeter Crown Court.

He told them:”You pointed the finger at Mr Ward because you were scared of Mr Saville, who you were very afraid of at the time you made your statement.

“It seems that within days, Saville lost his temper and assaulted you both. You have both been deeply affected by his actions.

“The reason you went to the police is because Morley was given an ultimatum by his landlord, to report the damage to the door or lose his tenancy. He feared becoming homeless.

“It seems clear you were caught between a rock and a hard place and did not have the personal resources to work out a lawful escape route.

“I don’t underestimate the distress and anxiety your lies caused to Mr Ward but the background circumstances and subsequent events involving Saville make this a truly exceptional case.”

Miss Bathsheba Cassel, prosecuting, said Saville kicked in the door of the house in March last year but Morley was too scared to name him to the police.

He identified Mr Ward instead and Price backed up his statement, even though he was not even at the scene.

Ward was arrested, held for four hours, charged, but Morley admitted what he had done to a support worker a week before the trial in July. Both men then told police the truth and admitted falsifying the original statements.

Miss Emily Pitts and Mr Paul Grumbar, defending, both asked the judge to take account of a probation report which said both men are very remorseful and are still suffering the effects of Saville’s attacks.

At Saville’s trial, the men told how Price had visited Morley’s flat on March 18, 2017, without realising Saville was staying there.

This led Saville to lose his temper with Price, who was kicked, punched and battered with a piece of furniture before fleeing.

Saville then turned his fury on Morley, who was hit with a heavy wooden loudspeaker, a computer monitor, a table, and an ornamental stag’s head.

He was knocked unconscious and suffered massive bruising, a gash in his head which needed four staples, and a punctured lung.

Saville had been smoking crack cocaine before the attack, which only ended because he threw the computer monitor out of a window, where it landed at the feet of a passing policeman.

The officer went to investigate and Saville fled out the back of the building and ran off. He later claimed someone else had carried out the attack and he had been escaping from them.

During the attack he told a woman who was in the flat that she was witnessing a murder, and he later told other people he had killed somebody.

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