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'LET HIM ROT IN HELL!' Victim celebrates as jury finds his torturer guilty of murder bid.

Byline: SUZY GIBSON Staff Reporter Special Correspondent

AMAN almost beaten to death in a brutal twoand-a-half hour hammer attack has spoken of his torture at the hands of the man he thought was his friend.

Former job centre manager Stephen Wale suffered severe head injuries and had his throat slit by cruel Kevin Mace, who filmed the merciless onslaught.

A jury at Leicester Crown Court took just 59 minutes to unanimously convict Mace of attempting to murder Stephen, who was repeatedly bludgeoned with a claw hammer.

The thug has been told to expect life imprisonment when he is sentenced next week.

Stephen suffered bleeding on the brain, a fractured eye socket and skull, a partially severed ear, and a slashed neck which has left him struggling to speak, unable to eat solids or drink anything hot.

"At last I can walk free knowing I'm safe from him," said the 59-yearold civil servant. "It feels like the best day of my life - I'm lucky to be alive.

"He knew what he was doing. Let him rot in hell."

Stephen was attacked in his own Humberstone home on the night of November 24 last year. The most damning evidence against Mace was the video footage he shot himself. While the harrowing footage was played to the jury, Stephen stayed outside the courtroom.

Even Mace found it too much to watch himself, and left the dock partway through.

On hearing the guilty verdict, Mace blinked and walked out of the dock to the cells below, unwilling to hear anything further, including details of his conviction in 1996 for the knifepoint robbery and rape of a young man, for which he was given a seven-year term.

Judge Nicholas Dean QC said those offences were an aggravating feature, and he would be considering imposing life imprisonment at next week's sentencing hearing.

Mace, 38 and formerly of Carpe Road, Northfields, Leicester, had denied attempted murder but admitted a lesser alternative of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent - but that was not accepted by the Crown.

Mary Loram, prosecuting, told the jury: "The ferocity and seriousness of the attack can only have been meant to kill."

The court heard that violence erupted when Mace visited Stephen at his flat.

After being bludgeoned, despite his injuries and an intercom being smashed off the wall of his trashed flat, the victim managed to summon help with a pull-cord, which connects to a system manned 24 hours a day, before he lost consciousness.

A member of staff went to the victim's flat and encountered the bloodied, bare-chested Mace in the doorway. Mace raised the hammer when he saw her, causing her to flee.

She phoned for help with a colleague, who heard the defendant banging on her office door, saying "I've killed him, don't call the police" at about 12.30am.

When arrested at the scene by armed officers, Mace was extremely drunk and staggering around, but the jury was told that the consumption of alcohol did not amount to any kind of a defence.

Mace told the police: "I was going to kill that b*****d with that hammer - he's so lucky."

He did not answer any questions during his police interview and did not give evidence in court.

Steven Newcombe, defending, said the video footage was "dreadful", but if Mace intended murdering the victim he could have "done it with some ease" using the hammer or knife.

"He was, in effect, torturing him, rather like a cat with a mouse," he said. "And it went on and on."

Stephen's new battle - to rebuild his life FOR Stephen Wale, a new battle has now begun - to rebuild his life.

"I now hope to build up my strength to get better in terms of my mental health," he said.

"I also want to be able to walk without a stick, to eat proper food instead of a tube in my stomach and to sleep properly.

"This has affected my confidence and I don't feel I can ever trust anyone again."

A civil servant for 35 years, including being the manager at Job Centres throughout Leicester, Stephen is no longer able to work.

"I'm not even able to do voluntary work, but hopefully one day I will," he said.

At last I can walk free knowing I'm safe from him. It feels like the best day of my life - I'm lucky to be alive STEPHEN WALE
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:May 28, 2017
Words:735
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