EXCLUSIVE: Pub landlord stabbed as he fights off muggers one-handed... to preserve his fish and chips

18:11 08 February 2013

John Wood outside his pub, the Marshland Arms. Picture: Steve Williams

John Wood outside his pub, the Marshland Arms. Picture: Steve Williams

Archant

A HEROIC pub landlord fought off a gang of armed muggers with one hand... to preserve the fish and chips he had just bought.

Four men cornered John Wood in an alleyway off Lynn Road, Wisbech, last night, as he emerged from Frank’s Fish & Chip Shop.

But, despite suffering a stab wound which required 18 stitches, the 37-year-old floored all four of his attackers - and left with his dinner intact.

Mr Wood, who trained in martial arts as a teenager, said: “The men stopped me and demanded my phone and wallet. I told them if they wanted it, come and get it.

“They all came at me at once. I kicked two of them in the leg. I used to do a little bit of aikido and I remembered to go for the knees. They fell to the floor and couldn’t get up.

“As I did that another clipped me in the face. I turned around and hit him and he fell.

“I turned around again and the other one came at me with what I thought was a knife. He just lunged and I felt a sharp twang in my side. I grabbed his hands so he couldn’t bring it out and stab again.

“I pulled it out myself, disarmed him and then hit him. I think he was knocked out.

“Then I just got in my car and left.

“I didn’t even drop the chips. It was all done one-handed. They weren’t even squashed when I got home!”

Mr Wood, who owns the Marshland Arms, in Marshland St James, returned to his fiancée’s house after the incident, which happened shortly after 9pm.

He did not go to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in King’s Lynn, until the early hours of this morning, when the bleeding from his side would not stop. The hospital informed police, who are now investigating.

Hospital staff believed the stab wound, which required 15 internal and three external stitches, was caused by a sharpened screwdriver.

Mr Wood said: “The screwdriver deflected off my ribs apparently. It was a millimetre away from going into my lung. If it had gone through that it would have hit my liver.

“I was very lucky. If it had been a couple of inches over it could have been me lying in the alleyway.

“I dread to think what would have happened if it was somebody else in that situation. My fiancée was going to go but I said it was dangerous. I would never have forgiven myself if I had let her go.”

Claire Upton, Mr Wood’s fiancée, said he looked fine when he returned home with the dinner.

“It was a crazy moment when he walked in,” she said. “His face was a bit red where he had been hit and so we were looking for a plaster. Then we served the chips.

“John had lost his appetite but the pie he got is still in the fridge. We haven’t had the heart to throw it out seeing as he worked so hard for it!”

A police spokesman said: “We have received an allegation of an attempted robbery in Wisbech last night which we are looking into.

“Anyone who believes they may have information about this is asked to contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.”

Mr Wood added: “I only did aikido for a couple of years but it all comes back to you when you need it.”

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