A BUS driver who attacked a man with a meat cleaver, leaving it embedded in his skull, has been jailed for life at Manchester Crown Court

The Honorary Recorder of Manchester, Judge David Stockdale QC told 28-year old Anthony Thompson that he will spend at least 10 years and 106 days behind bars before he is eligible to apply for parole.

“You are, in my view, a highly dangerous man,” the judge told Thompson, who had left his former girlfriend’s partner Cameron Sharp with a fractured skull and numerous other injuries following the attack in Radcliffe on the morning of September 2.

Mr Sharp had tried to escape his attacker as he was chased through the streets at 6.30am and continued running, not realising for a time that the cleaver was in his head.

He levered the weapon out himself before collapsing and, as he lay on the ground, he managed to call his partner, Nicola Crossley telling her to get out of her home as Thompson was heading towards it.

In a statement Mr Sharp said: "I feel lucky to be alive.

"I still remember the sound of the meat cleaver hitting my skull.

"I remember being face down in the mud and watching my blood running out of me."

Thompson, of Plodder Lane, Farnworth, pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of Mr Sharp, possessing a knife, assault, breaching a restraining order not to contact Miss Crossley and breaching a suspended prison sentence.

The court heard that there was a history of bad feeling between Thompson, Miss Crossley and Mr Sharp.

Andrew Mackintosh, prosecuting, told how Thompson and Miss Crossley had been in a 'turbulent and violent relationship' during which he had assaulted her and which ended in July, 2016.

The pair had a young son and Thompson became angry about the way in which Miss Crossley's new partner, Mr Sharp was treating the child.

In February this year Thompson was made subject to a restraining order banning him from contacting Miss Crossley or going to her home in Duke Street, Radcliffe.

But the following month, after a disagreement Miss Crossley had with his mother, Thompson sent her a series of text messages.

The police were contacted, but Thompson denied sending the messages and a trial was set to take place at Manchester Magistrates' Court on July 18.

Mr Mackintosh added that on the evening of June 30 Miss Crossley spotted Thompson driving past her home.

Then, when she and Mr Sharp went to collect her son from Thompson's mother's home, the defendant arrived, tried to open the driver's door and began kicking the vehicle, shouting: "He's a dead man. I'll kill you."

On July 18 Miss Crossley went to Manchester Magistrates' Court, with Mr Sharp, to give evidence against Thompson, but as they queued to get into the building Thompson was ahead of them.

Mr Mackintosh told how, when Thompson spotted Mr Sharp he became angry, telling him: "How dare you come here. You're a dead man. You had better watch your back."

Then Thompson lunged at Mr Sharp, headbutting him and biting his ear before security guards managed to restrain him.

On September 2 Thompson took a cleaver from his girlfriend's kitchen, borrowed her car and drove from her home in Farnworth to Radcliffe.

When he spotted Mr Sharp leaving Miss Crossley's home at 6.35am he stopped the car near the junction with New Road, got out and ran towards him with the cleaver, shouting: "I'm going to kill you. You're a ... dead man."

Thompson caught his victim at the junction of New Road and Stand Lane, pinning him against railings and attacking him with the cleaver as Mr Sharp held his arm up to try to protect himself.

"The complainant could feel blood running down his face," said Mr Mackintosh.

Mr Sharp managed to break free, shouting to a nearby motorist to call police, but he was chased again by Thompson who attacked him once more with the six inch bladed

"It was as a result of that blow that the cleaver became embedded in his head," said Mr Mackintosh.

"His [Mr Sharp's] head felt heavier and he reached up with one of his hands and realised the knife was there. He levered it out of his head and collapsed."

Mr Mackintosh added that when Mr Sharp saw Thompson running off towards Miss Crossley's house he rang to warn her.

Mr Sharp spent three days in hospital being treated for a fractured skull as well as wounds to his head, thigh and hip, neck, ear and forearm.

The court heard that Mr Sharp now has difficulty walking and numbness to his head and thigh as well as constant migraines and flashbacks.

When arrested a short time later Thompson told police he had not intended to kill Mr Sharp.

Amos Waldman, defending, said Thompson had been 'frustrated and extremely concerned' about his son.

"When he saw the complainant leaving the address he simply lost control of his emotions and launched the attack," he said.

"It is clear this defendant is extremely remorseful."

Sentencing Thompson Judge Stockdale said: "The facts of this case are disturbing in the extreme.

"This was a pre-meditated, pre-planned attack on a public street with a deadly weapon.

"He [Mr Sharp] posed no threat to you whatsoever."

Judge Stockdale said he accepted Thompson had been subject to some provocation but described Mr Sharp's wounds as 'shocking'.

He told Thompson"It is a matter of pure chance, and not a matter of judgement on your part that Cameron Sharp was not killed."

And he stressed: "Your attitude to Nicola Crossley is obsessive and highly dangerous as your offending demonstrates."

In addition to the life sentence, Judge Stockdale made an indefinite restraining order banning Thompson from contacting Mr Sharp or Miss Crossley or going within 500 metres of her address.