Northern Ireland

War veteran praised for bravery after disarming knife attacker

A war veteran who suffered 32 stab wounds while disarming a man who attacked his neighbour with a knife has been commended for his bravery.

County Antrim man Samuel Gaynor was 80 when he wrestled the weapon from Craig Binnie during the December 2013 attack.

A judge said he had been "incredibly brave" for confronting Binnie "with little regard for his own safety".

Binnie was jailed for 13 years for what the judge at Belfast Crown Court said was a "horrifying, sustained attack".

The court heard during Wednesday's sentencing that Mr Gaynor had rushed to the aid of his neighbour Nancy McDowell.

Life-threatening

He was attacked by Binnie, but managed to disarm the 43-year-old.

Mr Gaynor, from Newtownabbey, who joined the army and who fought in the Korean War, is now approaching his 83rd birthday.

He said that even though he sustained four life-threatening wounds that required surgery he would "more than likely do it again".

Binnie, from Tynan Drive in Newtownabbey, had armed himself with two knives before beginning an attack that left five people with stab wounds.

The attack was carried out in front of a five-year old child.

The judge said it would be "hard to imagine the terror" of the victims who were subjected to a "frightening, sustained episode of unprovoked violence".

Overpowered

Mr Gaynor said Binnie had been "raining blows and stabbing" him during their confrontation.

"I knew at this point he was trying to kill me and that I was fighting for my life," he said.

"I remember thinking that I had to take this man down.

"I don't know where I got the strength from, but I fought my way to my feet and overpowered him and got the knife away from him."

Mr Gaynor returned to his home where his wife came to his aid.

"My kitchen and dining room were like a war zone - blood and bloody towels everywhere.

Grateful

"I remember saying to my wife: 'Love, I did my best, I think I'm going.' I then collapsed as I had lost a lot of blood."

He was taken to hospital where he was treated for his wounds.

Among the other victims were Angela Bell and her son Edward, who said they "might not be here now" if Mr Gaynor had not taken the knife from Binnie.

Ms Bell said: "In my opinion he saved my life and the lives of my family, and I'll always be so grateful to him."

Edward said: "Sammy is a real hero to do what he did that night."

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