Former Norfolk marine on attempted murder charge in Australia

A former Norfolk soldier once hailed as an Afghanistan war hero is facing a charge of attempted murder in Australia.

Paul Heywood, 27, of High Street, Gorleston, is alleged to have stabbed a young woman a number of times in a home in the Carlisle district of the city of Perth, leaving her with life-threatening injuries.

He is then alleged to have fled naked, stealing clothes from a washing line before robbing a late-night courier and driving off in his van.

Heywood is alleged to have carried out the assault on a woman he met in a nightclub in the early hours of June 12, the day after he arrived from Britain to start a contract working on an offshore survey ship in the north of Australia.

His mother Barbara, formerly of Gorleston but now living in New Zealand, has flown to Perth to visit him in prison where he has been remanded until his next appearance at the city’s Stirling Garden Magistrates Court on September 15.

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Heywood, who was renowned for sports at Gorleston’s Cliff Park High School, was featured in the EDP eight years ago when he was serving with 45 Commando Royal Marines on a mission in the Afghanistan mountains against al Qaeda forces.

A photograph of him in uniform taking command of a machine gun appeared in a national Sunday paper at the time under the headline: “Look SWAT’s coming to get you Bin Laden.”

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He left the Marines about five years ago following another tour in Cyprus, and has been working on survey ships, travelling to all parts of the world, for 18 months,

Scott Heywood, 33, a father of three young children, described “the shocking news no family expects to hear” when his younger brother rang him in the middle of the night.

Scott, who served in the Army himself during the Balkans conflict, said the terrible call came at a time when his mother was over from New Zealand and his sister Virginia was over from her home in Brisbane, Australia, for a family gathering.

He said: “He is very gentle, loving and intelligent and enjoys reading stories to my children.

“He has a good bunch of friends and one has already gone out to Australia to visit him.”

Scott said he had since spoken to his brother, who is undergoing psychiatric evaluation, several times in prison.

He said: “Paul has seen things in Afghanistan which you expect to see when you join the Royal Marines and he has also had to come to terms with our father committing suicide 14 years ago.”

Scott said he planned to fly out and visit his brother when future court dates became clear.

A Western Australia Police spokesman said: “I can confirm that Paul Heywood was charged by with attempt to murder, trespass, stealing, aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery. All charges relate to June 12, when Heywood allegedly stabbed a young woman a number of times at a residence in Carlisle (a Perth suburb). These left her with life threatening injuries.

“He is then alleged to have run from the scene and entered a nearby private property where he stole some clothes. He then travelled onto a nearby business, where he entered the property with the intention of committing an offence.

“Shortly after, he stole a car from the business and escaped from the scene.”

His alleged victim, who was reported to have 18 stab wounds, has been discharged from hospital.

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