A Good Samaritan stabbed in the throat by a mystery knifeman with a cut-glass accent has told of the horrific attack which left him clinging to life in a pool of blood.
Talking exclusively to the T&A, victim Philip Hey told how an unknown teenager full of “inhuman rage” plunged an 8-inch blade through his throat after coming to his Bingley home with a bogus story invented to first win his trust.
Mr Hey, a production manager with Purification Products Ltd of Shipley, only survived because he gave himself instant first aid – clutching his throat to stem the bloodflow until he arrived at hospital.
“The surgeons said they couldn’t believe I’d made it. The blade passed 2mm from my jugular and by-passed my windpipe,” said father-of-two Mr Hey, 53, of Wagon Lane, who has spoken out to help police catch his attacker.
“He obviously wanted to kill me and when it happened I thought – this is it, I’ve got a few minutes to live. This is my last chance – I’ve got to save my own life.”
A Red Cross trained first-aider, he lay down on the floor grabbing the neck wound and waited for the ambulance.
“I took my pulse to make sure I was still alive and, oddly, my heart wasn’t racing at all,” he said calmly, sitting on a sofa in the very room where the drama of December 15 began.
Here, here describes the chilling incident which left him millimetres from death at the hands of the would-be assassin.
“It’s still a surreal experience for me – I think I’m going to wake up and it’s all a bad dream,” he said.
“My wife and I were watching TV at the back of the house when at about 10.15pm a red laser light began dancing over her face.
“We never close our curtains and I stood up and could see a light being shone into the room from over the hedge from Bingley Rugby Club’s grounds.
“I said ‘it’ll be kids messing about’.
“We knew there was a do on in the clubhouse and sometimes kids run out into the dark to cool off.
“But we’ve never had any issues or problems before.”
Mr Hey went out to investigate and shone a bright torch around the garden.
“It was just to frighten anybody off and there was nobody I could see or hear,” said Mr Hey, who went back into his smart detached house beside the entrance to the sports ground.
But five minutes later came a knock at his kitchen door.
“I thought it was late, but I opened the door and there was a young lad aged about 19 roughly 6ft tall, slim, smartly dressed and looking nervous. He didn’t look drunk or on drugs.
“He took a step back as if he didn’t really want to be there then said in very polite BBC-type voice: ‘I’m terribly sorry, I’ve come to apologise for my little brother. He’s 12-years-old and he’s been annoying you with a laser torch’.”
Mr Hey said his immediate thought was the lad had been sent to apologise by parents who may have been at the Rugby Club.
“He was wearing nice, clean clothes, a smart diamond patterned jumper with a shirt collar, although the sort of clothes more like a middle-aged man might wear to a do at the golf club, not what lads wear,” said Mr Hey, whose two sons are in their early twenties.
“I had no reason to fear him at all, he was polite, well-spoken and came across as well-educated from a good, possibly upper-class background. He didn’t have a regional accent.
“He was like a nervous public-schoolboy who lives at home with his parents.”
Mr Hey said at this point he told the lad it was his wife who had been most upset by the light.
“He kept saying he was terribly sorry and couldn’t apologise more.”
Mr Hey was so unconcerned by the stranger, he then invited his future attacker into his home to show him exactly where the laser had been shone.
“I led him to the lounge where we stood in the doorway and I said to my wife: ‘This young man’s come to apolgise for the laser’.
“She thanked him and I took him back to the kitchen door and out.
“Then he turned and asked very politely: ‘Do you mind if I just have a quick look round the garden to see if my brother is there because he’s got a knife and I’ll be in trouble if I don’t get it back’.”
Mr Hey, the wound on his throat clearly visible, shook his head in disbelief at what he did next.
“With hindsight why didn’t I worry at that point?
“I just believed it was a 12-year-old who’d taken cutlery from the rugby club to mess about with.”
He fetched his torch and then led the stranger down an uneven path to the back garden.
“I lit the way as I was worried he might trip up!” Mr Hey said.
“When we got to a dip in the hedge I shone the torch and he felt around in the leaves with both hands and said: “Oh there’s nothing there.”
“We walked back with him in front to the kitchen door, then he asked if he could have another look in the adjacent sportsfield.
“I said ok, to use my torch and leave it on the step when he’d finished.
“He hesitated to take it, but I urged him to until he did. I’ve got a lad just a bit older and sometimes they need help although they won’t admit it.”
Mr Hey went in and told his wife what had happened.
“She sort of told me off for telling off such a nice young lad,” he said.
Five minutes later he was clearing up dinner things when he saw the silhouette of the lad through the kitchen door’s opaque glass.
“I thought it was a coincidence, it didn’t occur to me he’d been waiting there for me to appear, so I opened the door and said: “Any luck?”
“He was there, still anxious-looking and said: ‘I’m really, really sorry but the battery’s gone flat on your torch’.
“I said don’t worry, but he kept on saying sorry as I reached out to take it from his right hand.
“Now I think he was sort of torn about what to do next,” Mr Hey said.
What happened next was something from a horror film.
“Suddenly his eyes bulged wide with inhuman rage, pure rage,” Mr Hey said.
“He went from being apologetic and polite to a madman who was out to kill me.
“Without warning he lifted his left arm up high above his head and I saw the flash of a blade in his hand,” said Mr Hey, powerless to defend himself.
“It looked like a long thin-bladed kitchen knife and he swept it down into my neck.
“I was just aware of terrible pain in my throat and put my hand to it and could feel warm blood pouring through my fingers.
“He’d disappeared and I knew I had to stop the bleeding or I’d die.
“I just clenched my throat as tight as I could and called to my wife to get an ambulance.
“Luckily, he had just plunged the knife in and straight out, or I would be dead.
“After a few minutes of not losing consciousness I thought I was going to get through it.
“I thought, oh maybe it’s just a flesh wound at the front, I’ll be back at work on Wednesday.”
But at Bradford Royal Infirmary he discovered the 8-inch blade had entered just behind his right earlobe, missed his jaw and come out beside his Adam’s apple.
“If it had hit the jugular I would have died in two minutes, or if it cut the windpipe I could have drowned in my own blood,” said Mr Hey, who lost a pint of blood and suffered nerve and artery damage.
He was kept in hospital for four nights and managed to spend Christmas with family and friends.
Now he is making an appeal for anyone with clues to the identity of his attacker to come forward and tell the police.
“He must have parents or friends who know the sort of mental issues he may have and who are worried about him.
“He obviously intended to kill me and needs to be locked up for what he’s already done.
“As I’m sat here, he’s out there planning who-knows what to do next?” Mr Hey warned.