22-years for ‘despicable’ man who knifed Skegness pensioner and left him for dead

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A DRUG fuelled robber who attempted to murder a frail Skegness pensioner as he tried to defend himself in his own home was today (Thursday) jailed for 22 years.

Heartless Michael Hurst, 21, left recluse Winford Falconer, 76, for dead after stabbing him in the chest at his warden-controlled bungalow in Alexandra Court.

Mr Falconer’s life threatening injuries remained undiscovered for almost 24 hours after a care worker who visited him the next morning failed to raise the alarm - wrongly thinking he was asleep.

It was only when a friend called in to see the pensioner after returning from holiday that Mr Falconer was rushed to hospital. He was found to have a stab wound to the chest and a collapsed lung, and was transferred to Nottingham City Hospital for life saving treatment.

Hurst, of Wainfleet Road, Skegnees, had denied he was responsible for stabbing Mr Falconer in the chest but was found guilty of attempted murder after a trial at Lincoln Crown Court last month.

His accomplice, Aaron Hawkesford, 23, of Lincoln Road, Skegness, was convicted of the robbery which occured at around 8pm on 13 October, last year, and was jailed for ten years.

Passing sentence Judge Michael Heath told Hurst he tried kill Mr Falconer after the pensioner had the “temerity” to try and defend himself with a knife he kept in his bedroom.

“You prised the knife from him, he continued to kick and punch you, so you stabbed him in the chest, as the jury found, with the intention to kill him.

“He lay injured until he was found by his friend 24 or so hours later,” Judge Heath said.

Judge Heath added: “He was a very soft target for anybody looking for easy money, and he had been burgled on previous occasions.”

The jury heard Mr Falconer lived a reclusive life but was targeted by the pair because he was thought to have cash in his bungalow.

Hurst was previously locked up for two years in April 2009 for a street robbery in Lincoln where he threatened his victim with a hammer before stealing just £5. Hawkesford was described as having previous convictions for “numerous offences” including assault, burglary, theft and shoplifting.

The court heard both men entered Mr Falconer’s bungalow after smashing panels of glass in the back door. Hawkesford punched Mr Falconer once, and was then joined by Hurst as the pensioner bravely fought to defend himself.

When Mr Falconer reached for a knife he kept in his home Hurst stabbed him in the chest. The pair stole the old man’s rings off his fingers together with his money, before fleeing leaving and him for dead.

Edna Leonard, mitigating for Hurst, admitted: “This was clearly an elderly man in his own home who had every right to enjoy his retirement.

“Afterwards the defendant demonstrated his callousness to the victim by not calling an ambulance.”

DC Phil Graves of Lincolnshire Police said his thoughts were with Mr Falconer who has now lost his independence and is being looked after in a care home.

“This was a despicable crime committed against a frail, elderly man in his own home. He was beaten to the floor and then stabbed in the chest when he posed no real threat to the intruders at his address,” DC Graves added.

“Michael Hurst and Aaron Hawkesford had no threat from Mr Falconer who must have been petrified throughout his ordeal.

“They robbed Mr Falconer simply to obtain money to fund their heroin habits and then left him alone suffering from injuries that could easily have led to his death.

“They didn’t make any attempt to summons medical assistance for him.”