An autistic teenager who stayed inside his home for more than two years due to social anxiety was brutally stabbed after venturing out for just the second time.
Billy Baxter, 16, from Blackburn, was knifed in the heart and lungs on the evening of 17 September last year while walking close to his home in what is believed to be a disagreement over a girl.
He needed life-saving surgery after the attack and has been left with a 12-inch scar running down the length of his chest.
His mother Jessie Brian, 35, found out about the attack when Billy sent her a message on Snapchat to say he was on his way to hospital.
Billy’s 17 year old attacker - who cannot be named for legal reasons - was sentenced to just 28 months in custody for the offence last week.
He was originally charged with attempted murder but this was downgraded to wounding with intent by the Crown Prosecution Service.
Ms Brian described the sentence as a “slap on the wrist” while Billy has been left traumatised by the incident, and forced to turn his back on his life and ambitions.
His mum said: “Billy wanted to be a plumber and now he’s too scared to go out of the house just when he got his confidence back.
“It’s heartbreaking what he’s done to my son, and in court, he held his head up high like nothing had happened.
“I’ve been around this area for 35 years - it’s the only area that I’ve known - and now we have to leave because the attacker knows my address and so does his family.”
‘It was a nightmare’
Billy has ADHD and autism and has spent more than two years without leaving his girlfriend’s home due to his lifelong developmental disability.
However, the couple broke up shortly before the attack in September and Billy moved back in with his mum.
He was ambushed after leaving his home at around 6.45pm to meet up with a new love interest.
Ms Brian said: “He’d been in a relationship, and he’d found out she was cheating on him, so he came back home after isolating with her for two and a half years.
“I said to Billy: “Just get out there! You need to start socialising with people and making new friends. Forget about everything that’s happened.”
“So he’d met this young girl, and managed to get to town and to see her, but then he heard his name being shouted across the road.
“He put his hood down and didn’t want any trouble, but next thing he knew the lad was in front of his face, and he got stabbed straight in the chest.
“I got a phone call from one of his friends on Snapchat, and it was actually Billy on the phone saying that he had been stabbed.
“I thought it was someone having a joke because it didn’t sound like Billy. It was only when he said: “It is me, mum, I’ve been stabbed and I’m on my way to the hospital,” that’s when I found out.”
Billy was rushed to hospital where he had to undergo a life-saving operation after doctors discovered he had internal bleeding.
The knife pierced his heart and slashed his liver, and left him with a huge scar running down his chest.
Ms Brian explained: “He was stabbed in the chest, between his heart and his liver.
“It pierced his heart, as well as cutting through a tube that runs from his heart for the blood supply, and slashing his liver.
“They had to open him up and pull his rib cage back and do an operation on his heart, and they had to repair the tube as well.
“It was an operation that he had to have within 24 hours – a life-saving operation – because he had internal bleeding as well, which is very, very dangerous.
“It was a nightmare to tell you the truth, it really was a nightmare.”
As well as the physical scars, the attack has also left Billy with mental trauma which continues to this day.
Ms Brian said he no longer has a life as he is afraid to go out and feels very self conscious about the scars he has been left with, which he talks about “every single day”.
Billy’s mum also said the short sentence his attacker received is not enough to deter other kids from carrying knives in the future.
She added: “28 months is a slap on the hand.
“This boy who did all this will probably get out and get a job or whatever, and my son is left not knowing what to do next.”
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