Ex-Scots Guard soldier sues MoD over machete attack by drunk sergeant

Ex-Scots Guard soldier sues MoD over machete attack by drunk sergeant

Former Scots Guard soldier, 37, sues Ministry of Defence for £300,000 over machete attack by drunken sergeant who had been jailed for killing a man

  • James Warnock, 27, suffered horrific injuries in the attack at Mons Barracks
  • The former lance sergeant was attacked by John Norwood after a drunken night
  • Norwood, from Glasgow, had been jailed for culpable homicide over the death of his uncle in 1996
  • Mr Warnock accuses the Army of negligence, saying a proper risk-assessment would have identified the danger

Colour Sergeant John Norwood, from Glasgow,is claimed to have attacked James Warnock after both being thrown out of an Aldershot pub

A former soldier is suing the Ministry of Defence for £300,000 after he was attacked with a machete by an Army colleague who had been jailed for killing a man before signing up.

James Warnock, 27, a former lance sergeant in the Scots Guards, suffered horrific injuries in the attack by Colour Sergeant John Norwood.

Mr Warnock claims Norwood should not have been allowed to join the Army given his previous convictions for violent offences.

Norwood, 41, had been jailed for killing his uncle and, in a separate incident, for three counts of stabbing a man in a pub fight.

In legal papers presented to the High Court, Mr Warnock – a veteran of two tours of Afghanistan – argues the Army was ‘vicariously liable’ because it failed to identify the threat posed by Norwood before the machete attack, which ended Mr Warnock’s military career and triggered a mental breakdown.

His lawyers claim Norwood had a reputation for fighting, bullying and verbal abuse, especially when drunk, which should have led to his discharge from the Army. Instead, he was repeatedly promoted.

On July 11, 2015, the two soldiers were thrown out of the George pub in Aldershot, Hampshire, after exchanging punches. Mr Warnock then returned to Mons Barracks in the town and went to bed.

Norwood also went back to the base and took a 10in machete from the storeroom, for which he had a key. He prowled the barracks in search of Mr Warnock, broke into the wrong room and attacked another soldier in a case of mistaken identity, fortunately without causing serious injury.

Still in a drunken rage at 5am, Norwood found Mr Warnock and struck him repeatedly with the machete, causing serious injuries to his right shoulder, left hand and wrist 

Still in a drunken rage at 5am, he found Mr Warnock and struck him repeatedly with the machete, causing serious injuries to his right shoulder, left hand and wrist.

At a trial the following year, Norwood, from Glasgow, was convicted of wounding with intent and was jailed for eight years.

After the case, it emerged that in 1996, before joining the Army, Norwood had been jailed for culpable homicide over the death of his uncle, who was fatally injured after fighting with him and falling from a balcony.

Norwood, who was not held totally responsible as his victim had refused medical treatment, also spent two years in prison over a pub fight attack.

After the machete attack, Mr Warnock needed surgery for a number of wounds, suffered major depression and was medically discharged from the Army in 2017 – ending the only career he had ever wanted, according to court papers.

He is also said to suffer from stress and anxiety, affecting his ability to work.

Mr Warnock, also from Glasgow, accuses the Army of negligence, saying a proper risk-assessment would have identified the danger of allowing Norwood access to the storeroom from which he took the machete. He says the Army was also negligent to employ Norwood and promote him due to his previous convictions and behaviour.

The Mail on Sunday understands Norwood’s convictions for offences committed before he joined the Army were spent, so the MoD was obliged to consider his application to join the Scots Guards.

Last night, an MoD spokesman said: ‘As this is an ongoing legal proceeding, it would be inappropriate to comment.’

 

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