A soldier has been cleared of stabbing a man in the street in Tanterton, following a trial at Preston Crown Court.
Michael Wild always denied being the knife man who attacked Michael Reed, who the court heard was simply ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time.’
Mr Reed was attacked by a gang of men wearing balaclavas and dark, hooded clothing after trouble erupted on the estate last November.
Mr Wild was seen leaving New Rough Hey in his BMW in the aftermath of the stabbing which left Mr Reed in intensive care for five days, suffering eight knife wounds.
Throughout the trial, Army Corporal Mr Wood insisted he and his girlfriend had visited the estate to collect a woman who had been caught up in the earlier violence.
He described seeing men running away from the scene but insisted he did not play any part in the attack on Mr Reed.
Witnesses to the stabbing said they saw the knife man jump into the driver’s side of the BMW and speed off the estate.
However Mr Wild’s car was examined and no traces of blood were found in the vehicle, or on any of Mr Wild’s clothing or footwear. When asked why he did not report the incident he had witnessed in New Rough Hey to the police, Mr Wild told the court he did not want to jeopardise his upcoming tour of duty in Afghanistan by putting himself forward as a witness.
During the trial, Mr Wild’s Warrant Officer, Kelvin Stacey, told the court the corporal had served in Iraq on Operation Telic, which he described as “the worst of the six month tours in Iraq.”
He said their battalion eight service men during the tour but Mr Wild, of Blackburn, was put forward for promotion due to the way he performed during that conflict.
Mr Wild was promoted to corporal and went on to serve in Afghanistan in the fire response unit.
Mr Stacey told the court: “If he wasn’t a cool-headed soldier he would not be selected for that rank. In the heat of the moment in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, if you lose your head the situation escalates and you lose soldiers.”
He described Mr Wild as “a very good soldier who is fit, robust and good at his job.”