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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Adam Everett & Nicole Wootton-Cane

'Manipulative' one-punch killer left pregnant girlfriend needing possible surgery after brutal attack

A man who killed a pensioner with one punch in an 'unprovoked attack' six years ago is back behind bars after battering his pregnant girlfriend and leaving her laying injured in a park.

Luke Woods was previously convicted of manslaughter after killing pensioner Len Saunders with one forceful punch in 2017. Six years later, the 22-year-old left his pregnant girlfriend potentially needing plastic surgery after knocking her to the floor with a single blow and causing a facial scar.

Lauren Jackson, who was 30 weeks pregnant, said she had been celebrating her sister's birthday on December 6 last year. While at her sibling's home, she received a "significant number" of calls from Woods, reports the Liverpool Echo.

READ MORE: Man in his 40s found with 'significant injuries' as cordon in place near pub

Jackson told Liverpool Crown Court the pair argued over the phone, but she refused to Woods. Prosecuting, Jonathan Rogers described how she 'eventually relented' and met him near to Fosters Park in St Helens.

There, and "without warning", Woods punched her in the face - knocking her to the ground. When she had got back to her feet, the "controlling and manipulative" 22-year-old - of Billinge Crescent - had left and she returned to his sister's address.

Ms Jackson was taken to hospital after suffering a 2cm laceration to her upper lip. She required stitches to the injury and will be left with a scar as a result.

The case was heard at Liverpool Crown Court (Liverpool Echo)

Woods was previously convicted of manslaughter in 2017 after the drunken teenager "snuffed out" the life of community hero Len Saunders with a single punch. Then aged 17, he was sent to a young offenders’ institute for four years and four months after pleading guilty to the killing of the much loved 65-year-old charity volunteer in an unprovoked attack .

Woods approached the stranger and asked him for a cigarette before delivering the lethal blow, which instantly knocked him to the floor and caused him to hit his head on the road. Mr Saunders died in hospital nine days after suffering severe head injuries.

Louise McCloskey, defending, told the court today that her client had an "impulsivity and an inability to control his emotions" - adding: "Addressing these difficulties is something which needs to happen. He has expressed genuine remorse.

"He has concerning antecedents in his history and comes before the court in a case in which a single blow caused serious injury to someone he has been in a relationship with. He is doing what he can to recognise the problems he has and trying to address them.

"While in custody, he intends to become a better person. He wants to be not just a father who is in his child's life, but a positive role model. The prospect of becoming a father for the first time has forced reflection on him and a willingness to change. He shows some hope."

Woods admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm during an earlier hearing. Appearing via video link to HMP Altcourse, he was jailed for two years.

Sentencing, Judge David Aubrey KC said: "Your impulsivity and the fact you are unable to control your emotions meant that you did precisely what you did. There was a disagreement - it matters not what that disagreement was - and you punched your victim in the face once only.

"But that resulted in her falling to the ground and sustaining what can only be described as a nasty injury which may require some plastic surgery. You do not expect to receive any mercy and describe yourself as acting like an animal - that is an apt description.

"It is apparent that, since you have been remanded into custody, you are realising that you have these issues and you must do something about them. Had it not been for this insight into your offending, the court would have been minded to impose an indeterminate sentence - but the court has come to the conclusion that it can stand back from imposing such a sentence."


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