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Jury returns guilty verdict over aggravated burglary and assault charges against man and his nephew
9:59am Monday 29th October 2012 in News
A man who was left fighting for his life on the landing of a block of flats is behind bars after being convicted of aggravated burglary.
Michael Thomas and his nephew Nathan Doyle had burst into the building in the early hours wearing masks and armed with a kitchen knife and ratchet.
But 31-year-old Thomas was left in a pool of blood having suffered a punctured lung after he was injured by his own blade during the struggle.
He and Doyle, 22, claimed to be the victims having gone to the home of Damian Ford at 5am to 'have a chat with him' about his part in an alleged assault on their friend.
They said once they got to the top floor premises in Norwood Court, off Wicker Hill, Trowbridge, Mr Ford attacked Thomas with the ten-inch chef's knife.
But a jury of four men and eight women at Swindon Crown Court rejected their account and found the pair guilty of aggravated burglary and assault causing actual bodily harm.
And Judge Douglas Field remanded them in custody to Friday, November 23, warning them that they face a 'lengthy custodial sentence'.
Mr Ford said he was asleep in bed with his girlfriend at about 5am on Wednesday, December 29, 2010, when he was woken by banging on his door.
Mr Ford, 23, said it then burst open and he heard men shouting: 'You're a dead man - I'm going to kill you,'.
He said he leapt from his bed and tried to hold the bedroom door shut, but the masked raiders forced it open.
"As soon as the door opened that is when I got hit by something on top of the head, a blunt object," he said.
"It was pitch black, I could see figures, there was only a little bit of light coming through the window.
"I fell back, I wasn't on the ground straight away, I tried to stand up, I stumbled back. That is when the struggle sort of started.
"I could see two figures, I didn't know if there was more outside.
"As soon as I got hit I was sort of on my knees I saw a glint of a knife. I was terrified. I instinctively just grabbed it."
He said he took hold of the blade with one hand and went for the handle with the other.
"I was trying my hardest to rip it out of his hands, I was scared I was going to get sort of injured with it," he said.
During the melee Mr Ford said he was held in a headlock by the men, one of whom was wearing a balaclava or ski mask and the other a scarf over his face.
He said his hand got cut 'pretty badly' and the grappling stopped when a pal, who was in the upstairs bedroom, came down and turned the light on.
Moments later he said he realised one of the men was lying on the landing outside his flat bleeding heavily from a wound to his chest.
He said he did not know how it happened but assumed it must have been during the struggle.
Colin Meeke, prosecuting, said Doyle demanded an ambulance be called and when he removed the scarf Mr Ford recognised him.
The victim said Doyle told him to tell the police they were all in the flat and some other men came and attacked them or 'something bad would happen'.
Thomas, of Millhand Villas, and Doyle, of Pursely Road, both Trowbridge, pleaded not guilty to aggravated burglary and actual bodily harm.