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Army sergeant found guilty of machete attack on fellow soldier

John Norwood
John Norwood

An Army colour sergeant has been remanded into custody after being found guilty of a machete attack on a fellow soldier, carried out because his "pride was dented" by a pub argument.

A jury at Portsmouth Crown Court convicted John Norwood, of 1st Battalion Scots Guards, of wounding with intent Lance Sergeant James Warnock at Mons barracks in Aldershot, Hampshire, on July 11 last year.

The 38-year-old was cleared of a second charge of attempted wounding with intent against Craftsman Nicholas Wood.

In an earlier trial at Winchester Crown Court, Norwood was cleared of the attempted murder of 24-year-old L/Sgt Warnock.

The jury in that hearing was unable to reach a verdict on the other two charges leading to the retrial at Portsmouth.

David Richards, prosecuting, told the Portsmouth trial that the attack at Mons barracks followed a confrontation in The George pub in Aldershot town centre which began as Norwood slapped L/Sgt Warnock, who was two ranks below him, around the face.

After banging his fists on the bar and pointing at L/Sgt Warnock, the defendant went up and confronted him again which ended with L/Sgt Warnock punching Norwood twice, knocking him to the ground.

Both men were removed from the pub by bouncers and Norwood went back to the barracks by taxi.

Mr Richards said: "Angered for whatever reasons, maybe his pride was slighted in the pub, he worked himself into a real tizzy.

"When he was punched and knocked to the ground by the younger man, that was too much for him, so he went looking for him, determined to have it out with him."

He described how Norwood went to the stores at the barracks to retrieve a machete and went searching for L/Sgt Warnock.

At about 3am, he went to the wrong room, belonging to 24-year-old Craftsman Wood, where the defendant kicked the door open before swinging the blade on to the bed, missing Craftsman Wood's legs but cutting the duvet.

About two hours later Norwood found L/Sgt Warnock's room where he attacked him and swung the machete at him, slicing his arm to the bone at the shoulder. His victim also suffered a wound to his hand where he tried to defend himself.

Norwood, of Priesthill Road, Pollok, Glasgow, told the trial he had taken the machete "to put the fear of God into" L/Sgt Warnock, and added: "I didn't want to harm anyone."

He said: "I made a reckless decision, a foolish decision, my pride was dented, my ego was dented.

"I knew I would be the butt of many jokes, many slanders. I know how the Army works and I foolishly went to his room to scare him, to salvage some dignity, that he would say, 'No, I shouldn't have done that, colour sergeant' - that's the only reason I did it."

Norwood will be sentenced on October 10.