Terrifying knifeman captured in back of family photo

A man who slashed a dog walker's face after grabbing his pet was identified in the background of a family photo.

Christopher Anthony Howe has been jailed for 18 months for launching a random attack at Reddish Vale Country Park in Greater Manchester on May 24 last year.

After hearing his Manchester terrier squealing, trained martial artist Paul Norton saw Howe carrying her by the scruff off her neck.

He asked Howe "what the f***" he was doing, to which the thug replied: "I'm going to cut your dog and then I'll cut your throat."

Mr Norton then booted him in the chest to let go of his dog called Jess, but Howe retaliated by slashing his arm and face with a knife, Manchester Evening News reports.

Stockport's Nightingale Crown Court heard on Wednesday how the victim has not "slept since the attack" and that his children are scared of returning to the park.

Police later saw Howe in the park with a cannabis joint, and the 33-year-old ran from officers, even wading through a river to avoid them.

He was spotted by passer-by Hayley Gibson, who was taking a family photo in the park and captured Howe running from officers in the background.

She later saw a post on Facebook about the incident, before submitting the photograph to Greater Manchester Police.

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Mr Norton told court he believed Howe used a foldable Stanley knife to attack him, and during an identity parade last August he told police he was '90% sure' Howe was the offender.

Howe had pleaded not guilty to wounding with intent, unlawful wounding and carrying a knife in the park on May 24 last year.

He claimed he was not the man who attacked Mr Norton and insisted he was only running away from police because he had been in possession of cannabis.

Prosecuting, Wayne Jackson read a personal statement from Mr Norton, in which he said his children were now too scared to go out on to the park – even though it is just 30 seconds from their house.

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"I haven't slept since the attack," Mr Norton said in the statement.

"The attack came out of nowhere which makes it more difficult to cope."

Judge Recorder David O'Mahony said that Howe had 26 convictions for 46 offences, some of which were for violence, and he had a previous record for possession of a knife.

Defending, Neil Ronan said his client had been 'living a normal life until he found himself in a prolonged period of homelessness'.

"This is a man who as plans for the future which involves getting help and support which before this incident he was completely without," he added.

Howe refused to come out of his cell for the sentencing, so Recorder O'Mahony continued in his absence.

Howe was sentenced to 18 months in prison for possession of a knife and six months for unlawful wounding, with the two sentences to run concurrently for a total of 18 months.

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