Screwdriver stabbing thug is jailed

William Lowe, convicted of killing a boxer.
William Lowe, convicted of killing a boxer.

A VIOLENT ‘bully’ who stabbed a professional boxer through the heart with a screwdriver in a street fight has been locked up for four years.

William Edward Lowe, aged 44, attacked light-welterweight Gwyn Wale after banter between the acquaintances spiralled into a fight.

Today Mr Wale told The Star medics had told him he would never fight again because of his injuries.

But the young dad from Rotherham, who is married with a two-year-old son and currently trains young boxers, said he hoped to prove them wrong.

He said: “The doctors and surgeons have said I probably won’t fight again but I am determined to get back.”

Michael Slater, prosecuting, told Sheffield Crown Court Mr Wale, who was 27 at the time of the attack last August, was a bricklayer who had been laying a wall for a neighbour in Becknoll Road, Brampton, Rotherham, when Lowe, who was visiting a relative, made a remark to ‘wind him up’.

Mr Slater said: “He kept telling him to go away, but the defendant became more abusive and started calling him names, before essentially offering to fight him.

“They started throwing punches at one another. In the course of the fight the complainant, who had previous boxing experience, knocked out the defendant’s two front teeth as they wrestled and exchanged blows.”

Mr Slater said Lowe then pulled a six inch screwdriver from his pocket and stabbed Mr Wale.

He suffered four puncture wounds - one of which pierced the sack surrounding his heart.

Mr Slater said the life-threatening injury could have caused heart failure, and Mr Wale was rushed to hospital where he underwent surgery.

Lowe, of Edward Street, Great Houghton, Barnsley, pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Richard Barradell, defending, said the men knew each other and had exchanged banter before.

He added Lowe had not intended to provoke violence.

He said: “The defendant had his teeth knocked out. He was being punched around like a sack of potatoes. He took out the screwdriver and no doubt what happened, happened very quickly.”

The court heard Lowe had previous convictions for violence committed during the 1980s and ’90s.

Jailing him, Judge Simon Lawler QC said: “On this occasion the banter didn’t work and Mr Wale rose to the bait.

“You knew his experience in the arena, he was younger than you and he was getting the upper hand in the fight.

“This took place in public and there were witnesses to what could have been a fatal as well as very violent incident.”

Speaking after the hearing Mr Wale said: “I’m just glad it’s all over and I’m pleased with the sentence.

“He has got a reputation in the area for being a bully and he just started gobbing off. Without my boxing training I might not have survived.

“I was training up for a fight at the time but I’ve not been able to train since or go back to work.”

Gwyn Wale became a professional boxer at 18 and earned a reputation as an exciting, tough fighter with an all action style.

He boxed for England as an amateur, but after less than 10 fights as a pro he fell out of love with the sport and gave up for four years.

In 2010 he returned to the ring, teaming up with his dad and Rotherham trainer Dave Coldwell and training alongside fighters including Curtis Woodhouse, Jerome Wilson and Ryan Rhodes.