A TEENAGER stabbed by a 13-year-old during an attack in Westhoughton town centre had to be brought back to life by medics.

Before collapsing at a bus stop Jake Heaton tried to phone for help but failed because his hands were so covered in blood, Bolton Crown Court heard.

A brave passer by chased off the youths, who continued to attack him as he lay on the ground, and stemmed the bleeding while others pleaded with him not to die following the attack on February 19 last year.

The Bolton News: Police seal of area after stabbingPolice seal of area after stabbing

The knife used by the boy had severed an artery and Jake, then aged 17, was bleeding to death.

After being rushed to hospital he had to be resuscitated and the court heard that he still bears the scars and pain from his ordeal.

His attacker, now aged 15, was sentenced to three years in custody after he pleaded guilty to intentionally causing grievous bodily harm.

He had been among a group of 40 to 50 youths who were gathered in the grounds of Westhoughton Parish Church at around 9pm when Mr Heaton, who had been visiting his grandmother, and his pal George Ballentyne, walked past on their way to a shop.

Craig MacGregor, prosecuting, told the court: “A small group started following Jake and George and shouting ‘oi’.”

It was dark and the gang got closer and closer to the teenagers and asked if they had any “weed”. But when they said no they were ordered to turn out their pockets.


As the youths turned on George, Jake went to help his friend. He was grabbed by his coat and George was headbutted.

Mr McGregor added that when Jake was punched in the face he punched back but ended up on the ground where five or six people, with their hoods up, began punching and kicking him.

When George ran off up Market Street, a 13-year-old, later identified as the defendant, sprinted after him before turning back and heading towards Jake.

Jake ducked as the teenager tried to punch him and then felt what he first thought was a punch to his backside.

“He looked down and saw his hand, as he reached down to feel the area, was covered in blood,” said Mr MacGregor.

One of the group was heard to shout at the attacker, “What the f*** have you done that for?”

Jake managed to stumble across Market Street to a bus stop and tried to ring a friend.

“But he couldn’t because his hands were so full of his own blood,” said Mr MacGregor.

When he fell to the floor, six of the youths from the gang, not including the knifeman, who had run off by then, started kicking and punching him again.

A passing driver stopped his car and chased away the attackers and applied pressure to his leg while his girlfriend called the emergency services.

“Jake particularly remembers a lady called Debbie Leigh who held his hand whilst he was on the ground and thought he was dying, saying words like ‘stay with us’ and comforting him,” said Mr MacGregor.

The two-inch knife wound had cut into an artery and Jake was bleeding to death. The court heard he went into cardio-vascular shock in hospital.

“There was active resuscitation and they manually brought him back to life,” said Mr MacGregor.

The knifeman disposed of the weapon in a skip before making his way home by bus, but when police recovered the knife they found Jake and his attacker’s DNA on it.

Police investigating the crime searched social media and arrested the teenager the following day.

When the teenager's phone was examined it revealed he had admitted stabbing someone in a message to a friend.

“She told him that the incident was on the Bolton News website and the defendant told her not to tell anyone,” said Mr MacGregor.

He also searched for the article on the Bolton News website and Googled “How much would a 14-year-old get for attempted murder?”

In a victim statement, read out in court, Jake told how he still bears the scars from the knife wound and 50 staples which were put into his stomach.

His recovery has involved regular physiotherapy and counselling, he missed his final months in sixth form and his life had changed dramatically, making him reluctant to go out and leaving him with nightmares.

“He will never forget the feeling of lying in a pool of his own blood not knowing if he was to live or die - not knowing if he would see his family, friends or girlfriend again,” said Mr MacGregor.

“He will never forget being on the ground with people who he knew circled around him crying and begging him to live.”

The court heard how the 13-year-old attacker, who has no previous convictions, was neglected when he was young, has had a disrupted education and his life has been marred by the use of alcohol, cannabis and cocaine.

Harriet Tighe, defending described him as “vulnerable and at risk of exploitation” by others and added that there have been positive changes in his behaviour since the attack. She appeal for him not to be sent to custody.

But sentencing him, Judge Tom Gilbart told the teenager: “Any sanction less than custody cannot be justified.”

He added: “This is, by any measure, a sad case. You are a young man who has suffered from a lack of support and a lack of setting the boundaries.

“But last year you committed a very serious assault on an entirely innocent victim.”

  • Following the stabbing and community concern about large numbers of youths congregating in Westhoughton, a dispersal order was put in place giving police powers to ask people to leave the area and not return.