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Man slashed in the face by knife attacker hiding in bushes

PUBLISHED: 07:13 17 January 2020 | UPDATED: 13:03 17 January 2020

Nathan Murphy was slashed in the face during a knife attack on Lakenham tracks. Picture: Nathan Murphy

Nathan Murphy was slashed in the face during a knife attack on Lakenham tracks. Picture: Nathan Murphy

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A careworker has suffered bad cuts to his face after being attacked with a knife while walking home in Norwich.

Lakenham tracks, marked in blue, runs from Brazen Gate in Norwich to Sandy Lane in Lakenham. Picture: Google MapsLakenham tracks, marked in blue, runs from Brazen Gate in Norwich to Sandy Lane in Lakenham. Picture: Google Maps

Nathan Murphy was returning home on the former railway line known as Lakenham Tracks between 9 and 10pm on Tuesday when he said a man jumped out of the trees and started to follow him.

The 30-year-old tried to escape but the man grabbed hold of him and there was an altercation, upon which the attacker took out a knife and slashed him across the face before running off.

Mr Murphy did not need medical care but said the attack left him feeling shaken and angry.

MORE: Man suffers leg injuries in suspected stabbing at city park

Nathan Murphy is urging people to avoid Lakenham tracks due to attacks and muggings. Picture: Nathan MurphyNathan Murphy is urging people to avoid Lakenham tracks due to attacks and muggings. Picture: Nathan Murphy

He said: "I was shocked about what was happening - I assume he was trying to mug me. I didn't know if there were more people in the bushes who would pile in.

"After he ran off I noticed there was blood on my chest and neck. I panicked a bit as I didn't know where I was bleeding from and felt a bit worried and scared."

The tracks, which start from Brazen Gate and ends near Sandy Lane in Lakenham, has previously sparked safety concerns following reported muggings and knife attacks.

Following the latest attack, Mr Murphy, who lives in Lakenham, said he felt compelled to write a post on Facebook, which has been shared around 900 times, warning people to stay away from the area.

The post prompted several messages to Mr Murphy sharing similar experiences, including a young woman who had a knife pulled on her.

Mr Murphy said: "It is not safe to go there and it just gets worse. It has been like that for years and everybody is constantly looking over their shoulder. There are people ready to attack, even in broad daylight.

"I won't use that route anymore and no one else should either. I want to raise awareness of the dangers of the route, particularly the end closest to the city."

A spokesperson for Norfolk police said: "While this specific incident doesn't appear to have been reported to us, we are aware of ongoing drug-related activity in the Lakenham tracks area. We regularly patrol this area, and will continue to take the appropriate response to incidents. We would encourage anyone who witnesses suspicious activity in the area to report this to us on the police number 101."

The number of knife and offensive weapon offences resulting in a caution or conviction has increased in Norfolk over the past seven years. New figures from the Ministry of Justice reveal the number of these offences has grown year on year across the county since 2013.

Last year marked the highest number of these offences recorded in the past decade - with 330 cases resulting in a caution or conviction. This is compared to 289 in 2018, 193 in 2013 and 274 in 2009.

Concerns have been raised over knife crime in our region - particularly in Norwich - which is thought to be partially linked to county lines drug dealing.

Norfolk police's inspector Ian Cox said: "These figures demonstrate that Norfolk police are taking a zero-tolerance approach to this kind of crime and will be as a direct result of proactive operations undertaken by our officers to combat issues such as county lines drug dealing. We have also been specifically targeting knife crime through Operation Sceptre. This involves proactive patrols in Norwich and town centres and our objective is to remove dangerous weapons from the street, as well as raise awareness of the dangers and consequences of carrying a knife."

He said they were continuing to target those believed to be carrying or threatening to use knives, but that preventing knife crime in the first place could not be done through policing alone.

"We continue to work with schools to prevent such offending and encourage parents to do their part to talk to their children about the risks of carrying knives," he said. "It is important to remember this is an issue for society as a whole and we are working with partner agencies and the local community to continue educating people around the risks of carrying knives."


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