A man has been found guilty of the murder of a mother-of-two.
Today, Wednesday 9th December, Stephen Duggan was convicted of the murder of Alison Wilson - who lost her life after being attacked in the street after being a good Samaritan.
The 28-year-old was also found guilty of section 18 wounding with intent on Anthony Tomlinson. He was found not guilty of section 47 assault on a baby. Duggan had already pleaded guilty to section 47 assault on another woman.
Duggan, who is from Runcorn, has been sentenced to life – he must serve a minimum of 22 years.
The incident took place on the evening of 7th March 2015 in Frank Street, Widnes.
Alison and her partner Anthony had been out for the night and were on their way home in a taxi when they decided to stop at the local chip shop for a late night snack.
As they were heading home at 11.20pm they noticed a man and woman arguing in the street – the woman was holding a baby in a car seat. At first it was just a verbal argument but then it became more aggressive.
The argument escalated and they started to fight - Duggan was seen pushing and shoving the woman - whilst she still had hold of the car seat with the baby in it.
Concerned about what was happening - and concerned for the safety of the baby - Alison offered to go and speak to the pair to try and diffuse the situation.
She got out of the taxi and walked towards them - standing in between the pair as she tried to get Duggan to calm down.
A short while later Anthony got out of the taxi, paid the fare and went to assist Alison. They both tried to calm down the situation the best they could.
Duggan became more and more aggressive shouting and swearing at Anthony. Then, without warning, Duggan hit him in the face with a wine bottle and he fell to the floor.
Whilst Anthony was on the floor bleeding from his injuries, Duggan then lashed out at Alison assaulting her with the bottle causing a deep laceration to the neck, severing the left jugular vein, which caused her to lose a huge amount of blood.
She was seen clutching at her neck trying to stop the bleeding. Despite being injured himself Anthony managed to dial 999.
Duggan walked over to the woman who was crying - she had sustained a black eye in the fight with Duggan and, at some point during the scuffle, it is believed that the baby had fallen out of the car seat, sustaining cuts and bruises to the face.
It was at this point that Duggan left the scene and walked away from the street.
Having heard a commotion in the street neighbours came out to see what was going on – they desperately tried to help Alison until paramedics arrived.
Officers arrived swiftly in the area and tried to stem the flow of blood before paramedics arrived. Both Alison and Anthony were taken to Whiston Hospital for emergency treatment.
In the meantime, Duggan had returned to his father’s address nearby. This is where he had been earlier in the evening celebrating the fact that Duggan had just got a new job. After a pleasant evening eating, drinking and chatting things had turned sour and, following an argument, Duggan had stormed out of the house.
When he arrived at the address Duggan’s father asked what had happened as he could tell that something wrong. Duggan then left his father’s address and, after being identified as the main suspect following the incident, he was later located by officers in Lowerhouse Lane riding a bike. They managed to stop him and he was arrested.
Alison received emergency surgery at hospital and remained in intensive care on a life support machine. She had sustained severe injuries and, 4 days after being admitted and after seeking medical advice, the life support was withdrawn and Alison lost her fight for life.
An investigation was launched by Cheshire Police’s Major Investigation Team and a team of detectives spent months piecing together their case.
DI Helena Banusic said: “What happened that night is truly shocking. Alison had been a good Samaritan and had approached Duggan and his partner to try and diffuse a potentially volatile situation – only to be met with abuse and then violently attacked.
“The injuries she sustained were horrific with one paramedic stating that it was the worst scene they had ever come across.
“Neighbours desperately tried to help her – coming to her aid and providing first aid and reassurance. But their efforts were in vain as just 4 days later she sadly lost her life. I would like to thank all those who have been a part of the investigation – and especially to those who helped Alison on that night and tried so desperately to save her.
“Duggan was in the process of turning his life around with a new job in the pipeline – his actions that night were extreme and have changed everything. He has shown little or no regard for Alison, her family and all those caught up in this terrible incident. I only hope that the conclusion of this case today will bring about some degree of closure for everyone.
“I would like to express my sincere condolences to Alison’s family and hope that they can now in some way start to rebuild their lives after going through so much pain and grief. They have shown a lot of courage and dignity throughout the investigation and the trial and this has been a very difficult experience for them.”
Following the conclusion of the case today Alison’s family issued a statement.
They said: “The day Alison died changed our lives forever. We have struggled as a family to come to terms with what happened and the fact that she was taken from us in such a cruel and violent way. Alison was being a good Samaritan and trying to help other people – that is the kind of person she was and how we want her to be remembered.
“Today’s guilty verdict brings the investigation to a conclusion and will see her attacker behind bars. Whilst no amount of justice will bring Alison back we hope that it will allow us some closure as we try to move forward with our lives.
“We would like to thank Cheshire Police for its support throughout the investigation and to all those who tried to help Alison at the scene.”