Shielding Lancashire teenager knifed after leaving home for just the second time in two years

An autistic teen who stayed home for more than two years due to his social anxiety was brutally stabbed after venturing outside for just the second time.

By Douglas Whitbread
Monday, 7th February 2022, 1:22 pm

Billy Baxter, 16, needed life-saving surgery after being knifed in the heart and lungs and now has a 12-inch scar running down the length of his chest.

He was stabbed while walking close to his home in Blackburn in what is believed to be a disagreement over a girl.

His mother Jessie Brian, 35, found out about the attack when Billy messaged her on Snapchat to say he was on his way to hospital.

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Billy Baxter in hospital. Picture: SWNS

Jessie said her son had been left traumatised by the incident and the family now plans to move out of the area.

His 17 year-old attacker - who cannot be named for legal reasons - was sentenced to 28 months in custody for the offence last week.

He was originally charged with attempted murder but this was downgraded to wounding with intent by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Jessie described the sentence as a “slap on the wrist” while Billy had been forced to turn his back on his life and ambitions.

Billy Baxter. Picture: SWNS

“Billy wanted to be a plumber and now he’s too scared to go out of the house just when he got his confidence back," she said.

“It’s heartbreaking what he’s done to my son, and in court, he held his head up high like nothing had happened.

“I’ve been around this area for 35 years - it's the only area that I’ve known - and now we have to leave because the attacker knows my address and so does his family.”

Billy has ADHD and autism and had spent more than two years without leaving his girlfriend’s house due to his lifelong developmental disability.

But they broke up shortly before the attack on September 17 last year and Billy moved back home with Jessie.

He was ambushed after leaving the house at around 6.45pm to meet up with a new love interest.

Jessie said: “He’d been in a relationship, and he’d found out she was cheating on him, so he came back home after isolating with her for two and a half years.

“I said to Billy, 'Just get out there! You need to start socialising with people and making new friends. Forget about everything that’s happened'.

“So he’d met this young girl, and managed to get to town and to see her, but then he heard his name being shouted across the road.

“He put his hood down and didn’t want any trouble, but next thing he knew the lad was in front of his face, and he got stabbed straight in the chest.”

Jessie said she found out about the stabbing after Billy contacted her over messaging platform Snapchat in the minutes after it took place.

She said: “I got a phone call from one of his friends on Snapchat, and it was actually Billy on the phone saying that he had been stabbed.

“I thought it was someone having a joke because it didn’t sound like Billy.

“It was only when he said: 'It is me, mum, I’ve been stabbed and I’m on my way to the hospital,' that’s when I found out.”

Billy was rushed to hospital where he required a life-saving operation after doctors found out he had internal bleeding.

Jessie said: “He was stabbed in the chest, between his heart and his liver.

“It pierced his heart, as well as cutting through a tube that runs from his heart for the blood supply, and slashing his liver.

“They had to open him up and pull his rib cage back and do an operation on his heart, and they had to repair the tube as well.

“It was an operation that he had to have within 24 hours – a life-saving operation – because he had internal bleeding as well, which is very, very dangerous.”

She added: “It was a nightmare to tell you the truth, it really was a nightmare.”

Billy was left with a huge scar running down his chest, along with a couple of smaller ones dotted just above his stomach.

But Jessie said that he was also left with mental trauma, which continues to this day.

She said: “My 16-year-old who wanted to go to college and be a plumber hasn’t got a life now because he won’t go out.

“He feels very conscious about the scars. He talks about it every single day. It’s not just one little scar. It’s one big massive scar and two scars underneath it.”

Jessie also feels the sentence that her son’s attacker received won’t deter other kids from carrying knives in the future.

She said: “28 months is a slap on the hand.

“This boy who did all this will probably get out and get a job or whatever, and my son is left not knowing what to do next.”