Wife tells of stabbed husband's bravery

THE wife of a man who was stabbed five times after bravely confronting burglars in his home last night described how she feared he would die in their daughter's arms.

Elliot Furniss

THE wife of a man who was stabbed five times after bravely confronting burglars in his home last night described how she feared he would die in their daughter's arms.

Father-of-three James Napier, 48, tackled the intruders after waking up to find the men looming over him, armed with knives and demanding money or drugs.

During the struggle, which happened on Thursday at around 11pm, Mr Napier was stabbed five times - including one wound that severed a main artery.

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His wife Mandy, 46, heard the commotion and came downstairs only to be confronted by the burglars herself, who were wearing balaclavas and hoods.

She said they repeated their demands as her husband staggered his way into the kitchen before collapsing.

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Speaking from her home in the Blackheath area of the town, Mrs Napier said last night: “There was so much blood. I thought he was going to die - my daughter (Zoe) was cradling his head in her arms and the colour was just draining from him.

“He's been my life since I was 14 and that's all I kept thinking.”

Mrs Napier, who has three children with her husband - Stuart, 26, Zoe, 25 and Daniella, 22, said there was so much blood that she could not find the wounds in order to apply pressure.

She said: “He thought he was dying - he kept saying 'my babies, I love you all'. It was all pretty horrendous.”

The deputy care home manager could only watch as shocked police officers drove her husband off in an ambulance as two paramedics carried out life-saving medical procedures in the back of the vehicle.

Mr Napier, a workshop manager in the Colchester Institute's bricklaying department, was taken to Colchester General Hospital with stab wounds to his legs and shoulders.

He has now returned home to recover but his wife said he was still very unwell.

She said: “He's very, very tired and just keeps sleeping. He wants to get up but at the moment he can't.”

Mrs Napier said she thought the burglars had made their way into the property through an unlocked door and urged others in the area to be vigilant.

She said: “We've lived in this house for 26 years. We just want people to be aware and not take it for granted that you can leave doors unlocked. We've got no enemies - we always help everybody. Everyone just loves Jimmy.”

Police said the intruders - who fled the house empty handed - were both white and in their late teens or early 20s.

The first was about 6ft tall and wearing a padded jacket with the hood up and a peaked cap and the second was about 5ft6ins and also wearing a hooded top.

THE attack on Mr Napier came after police in Colchester launched a campaign aimed at educating teenagers about the danger of carrying knives.

Officers said the initiative had previously focussed on drugs but this year had been expanded to cover other issues, including knife crime.

Ann Oakes-Odger, whose 27-year-old son Westley was murdered in a knife attack in Colchester in September 2005, was been visiting schools to promote the campaign.

“I am concerned about the recent growing trend in knife incidents, which only serves to illustrate and reinforce the importance of early intervention through education,” she said. “Sadly, the carrying of bladed weapons by some young people is often in the foolish belief that it will protect them if they are threatened.

“I cannot emphasise enough that the reverse is true ... far too many serious injuries are sustained with the victim's own weapon. It only takes the wrong thing said and a tragedy can happen.”

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