Blackpool driver pushed man out of his Fiat Panda after his throat was slit

The fugitive driver in a Blackpool robbery that left a man with severe cuts to his throat has been jailed for 16 months.

Luke Ball was bleeding profusely when driver Reece Barker, 31, pushed him out of the Fiat Panda and drove off on July 12 last year.

Preston Crown Court heard Barker was driving the car with Mr Ball in the passenger seat and another man in the seat behind. Mr Ball had £100 cash and a white Xbox with him, said Jack Troup, prosecuting.

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As Barker pulled up outside the Premier store on Park Road, the passenger attacked Mr Ball with a knife. The passenger took the money from him and placed it on the dashboard. Barker pushed Mr. Ball out of the car before driving off.

During the alleged robbery, Barker appeared frightened and told Mr Ball “just give it to him”. A witness saw Barker and the passenger carrying a white X-box, Mr Troup said.

The witness spoke to the men and saw that Mr. Ball had a neck injury. He then told police the driver said he had no idea things would turn out the way they did because he had only been asked to drive the car, Mr Troup added.

Barker pleaded guilty to aiding an offender, although a jury later found the second man not guilty of robbery.

Preston Judge’s Honorary Recorder Robert Altham said: ‘In some respects this is an unusual case as the defendant assisted an offender who was later acquitted.’

Julie Taylor, defending, said Barker, of Hallford, Rochdale, was fully aware that Mr Ball had been injured and had property taken from him.

“There was some panic,” she said.

“He saw Luke Ball had been injured and pushed him quite clumsily out of the car and drove off. They were apprehended 15-20 minutes later.”

Judge Altham said: “The other man was acquitted of the offense to which this defendant pleaded guilty to aiding. His story to the jury was that he was attacked by Luke Ball and was acting in a lawful state defense.

“Driver Reece Barker pulled over and Luke Ball was attacked. A large piece of skin was flapping from his neck as he left the car and there was a large amount of blood. It is abundantly clear that Barker was not part of the planning in this case and there was clear evidence from Luke Ball that Reece Barker was frightened by what was going on in the car.

“As the knife entered Luke Ball’s throat, it was telling him to hand over the money. He acted partly out of fear and panic.”

Following his arrest, Barker was remanded in custody before appearing at Preston Crown Court on Monday April 4 to be sentenced. Judge Altham sentenced him to 16 months.

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