Andrew Hearn reacts to Boots, Kendal, stabbing sentence

Andrew Hearn, 39, suffered three knife injuries in Boots on Stricklandgate after being attacked by his former friend, 29-year-old James Smith, also of Kendal.

Smith was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison for the assault and Mr Hearn called it ‘lenient, considering it was a life-or-death situation’.

“If it was a couple of inches higher or lower, I could have been killed”, he said.

“I think that anyone that’s carrying a knife should get three years anyway.

“I’m just glad he’s off the streets really. For someone who I’ve known for a decade and a half, to have helped him through college and then let him live with me, I thought he’d be one of the last people on the planet to grab a weapon and do that to me.”

Mr Hearn was with a friend collecting a prescription from Boots when he encountered Smith, with whom he had spoken just a week earlier.

“When he stabbed me the first two times, I actually thought he was hugging me, and was tapping me on the side”, he said.

“I’m just really thankful to the paramedics, the police, and the staff in Boots.

READ MORE: Stabbing victim thanks shop workers who came to his aid

“It’s not very often members of staff have to jump in to stop a fight in there, let alone somebody brandishing a knife.

“For it to happen in Kendal, which is normally such a small, quiet town, and around the time of kids finishing school aswell, it’s just shocking.

“I feel sorry for the people queueing up to get their prescriptions, to have to see a stabbing, I expect they were traumatised by it too.”

Tests performed after Mr Hearn had been airlifted to hospital in Preston confirmed that the knife had not punctured Mr Hearn’s lung as first feared but he said he was still both physically and mentally scarred from the incident.

“It’s given me PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), which might disappear in time, it might not,” he said.

“I’m just trying to deal with life on a day-to-day basis.

“It’s when I’m stood around in queues and other public places, I sometimes have a flashback and think that somebody’s going to attack me.

“There are triggers that make me feel really afraid when I’m shopping.

“I’m waiting to get some counselling, and I’m on medication.

“I still have some numbness in my left cheek, which the doctors say could go with time, but possibly not.

“I had to have plastic surgery on my face, but it could have been a lot worse.

“I didn’t think I could back into Boots, and a friend was joking about getting PTSD going back in there, so I have been back in a couple of times, and to be honest, I realised it’s just like any normal shop.”

Mr Hearn said that one positive did come out of his horrifying experience.

“I managed to get an air ambulance to Preston, so in one way, that negative turned into a positive for me, because there aren’t many times in your life you get to go into a helicopter”, he said

“I think because of the adrenaline running through my body, and the brilliant care I received, I didn’t feel much pain at the time.

“But it just shows how prepared the NHS staff and police are for these types of incidents, I just felt like a VIP.”

The Westmorland Gazette | News