Man stabbed woman in the head during attack in Bideford

A man has admitted stabbing a woman in the head and arm with a machete during an attack at her home in Bideford.

Nathan Stewart pleaded guilty to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm when he appeared at Exeter Crown Court by video link from the city’s prison.

Stewart, aged 30, of no fixed address, also admitted having a bladed article in Stucley Road, Bideford on July 22 this year, the day of the attack.

He also pleaded guilty to damaging two Vauxhall cars which were parked in the street near the woman’s home. He denied attempted murder.

Stewart was arrested in Westward Ho! later that evening after launching the attack at around 6pm.

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The victim, who is in her 20s, suffered serious injuries which needed hospital treatment but was able to return home the next day.

Judge Peter Johnson adjourned sentence until October 2 and remanded Stewart in custody. He ordered a probation report but said his initial assessment was that this was a category one offence.

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Sentencing guidelines suggest a starting point of 12 years, before credit for plea, for a category one wounding with intent.

Fiona Elder, prosecuting, said the pleas were acceptable and the more serious charge of attempted murder is not being pursued.

She said: “Stewart does not accept the description of the weapon as a machete, but it is described from the video footage as a large flat instrument with a sharp edge.

“As far as the Crown are concerned, it is not important what it is called. What is important is that he accepts he took it to the property in the waistband of his trousers, from where he took it and assaulted the woman.”

Richard Crabb, defending, said Stewart described the weapon as a window bar but accepts it had a sharp edge. He threw it away while walking from the scene to Westward Ho! and it has not been recovered.

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