Former paratrooper jailed for “frantic” knife attack at Darwen service station

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A former troubled paratrooper who served in Afghanistan and Iraq was jailed for attacking three people in an attempted robbery while using heavy cocaine and other drugs.

A sentencing hearing at Preston Crown Court learned how David Poucher, 28, entered the Shell Services garage on Blackburn Road, Darwen and carried out a "frenzied" knife attack on three people, stabbing a man in back with a machete.

Poucher, without a fixed address, attacked a pensioner, pursued the merchant on the forecourt, damaging a taxi, and shortly after fleeing the scene, attempted to break into a house on Hawkshaw Avenue, before trying to '' pursued at Darwen Tower by police, where he was eventually arrested.

One of the victims, taxi driver Bernard Goulding, driver of Chippy’s Taxis, suffered a deep knife wound, which required 10 stitches.

He also needed psychiatric treatment after experiencing nightmares and flashbacks, in which he "can still hear the stab at the window of his cab."

Poucher, who joined the military just months after his 16th birthday and served three months in Iraq before completing three tours in Afghanistan, had struggled to adjust to life on Civvy Street after being released for medical reasons for PTSD in 2013.

Only four members of the accused's squadron, which he considered family, are still alive - five were killed in action, four committed suicide, two are serving prison terms for armed robbery and one was recently released from prison.

CCTV footage of the incident, which took place at approximately 4:30 am on December 4, was played in court and showed Poucher approaching the gas station counter holding up a machete.

He put the machete on the back of Mr. Goulding, who suspected nothing, who paid for fuel.

Poucher can then be seen attacking seventy-six year old Michael Riley and threatening him with another knife, before jumping over the counter and chasing the store worker, Mr. Patel, into the shop.

Mr. Patel is seen running towards the door before leaving the store, trying to keep the door closed behind him while a rabid Pouch tries to open the door with his knife.

Pursuing the lawsuit, Paul Brookwell said, "The police were called and chased him through Darwen before bravely braving the rugby to tackle and restrain him. During the interrogation, the accused told the police that "if given the opportunity to do it again, he was surprised not to have done it earlier."

Defense defender Jon Close said that Poucher had not been convicted before and had not received much help outside of medication when he left the forces.

He said in court: "In 2013, his son, who was only a few days old, died, and he was the one who turned off the life support.

“Only a month later, he was deployed to Afghanistan.

"He was diagnosed with PTSD and on his way home, his relationship broke down and he attempted suicide twice.

"He is ashamed of this person you see in the video and says," It is not him and this is not what he is doing "".

Poucher had pleaded guilty to attempted robbery, attempted assault and battery, possession of a knife and a machete, criminal damages and assault at a previous hearing.

Justice Beverley Lunt said, "I do not underestimate the painful effects of events in your personal life, or what you have done while serving this country.

"But none of these effects can reduce the terror you caused to three men at a gas station that night.

"The first thing you did was hit Mr. Goulding in the back with a machete.

"You are lucky that the injury was not fatal.

"It was a frantic attack and nothing was going to stop you from going wild. "

Poucher had pleaded guilty to attempted theft, personal injury, possession of a knife and machete, and criminal damages at a previous hearing.

He was locked up for eight years with an additional four years to serve under an extended license.

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