Special report by Don Frame
A MOTHER of two young children was subjected to a terrifying 26-hour nightmare ordeal when the boyfriend she had just dumped took her hostage in her own home.
Marc Schofield 30, who has a history of violence, stabbed his victim in the neck and back with a carving knife, tried to strangle her, and repeatedly threatened to shoot her, and her children.
Then as the incident in Shaw, Oldham, spiralled into a full scale armed siege operation involving 60 police officers, he attempted to blow the property sky-high by hacking through a gas main with an axe, trying to ignite escaping fumes with a cigarette lighter.
Two police officers who went into the home on Pemberton Way on July 25 were forced to flee when Schofield pointed what they were convinced was a live revolver at their heads.
He also grabbed the younger of the two children and pointed the weapon at his head as the stand off continued.
Both youngsters were eventually allowed to be taken from the home, but their mother’s ordeal went on for hours longer. The victim said later that she was convinced she would never see her children again, and that she was going to die.
Gas supplies to nearby homes in the area had to be turned off during the siege and around 20 local residents had to be evacuated.
Schofield was given an extended jail sentence totalling 17 years in his absence at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court, after he refused to leave his cell at Forest Bank remand centre to attend the hearing.
He had pleaded guilty to charges of false imprisonment, unlawful wounding, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, two counts of possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear or serious violence, and criminal damage.
Judge Tina Landale said she had considered a life sentence, but had instead added a further five years to the 12 year jail term she imposed, for the protection of the public.
Schofield of no fixed abode, will have to serve a minimum of eight years behind bars before he can be referred to the parole board who will decide if he should be released.
He will then be on licence until the expiry of the extended prison term.
Judge Landale described the case as “shocking” and said it was clear that his victim suffered “terrible psychological damage” during her night of terror, genuinely believing she was going to be killed.
She praised the woman’s actions during the ordeal saying she had behaved remarkably, keeping level headed and calm.
The court had been told that Schofield had been involved in a turbulent relationship with the woman, and police had been called to the home in July when he used violence towards her.
Officers removed him, but just three hours later he came back and forced an entry to the home.
The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said that after attacking her, Schofield barricaded her in a bedroom, using a chest of drawers he had smashed with an axe.
She said when police broke into the house at the end of the siege Schofield dragged her on top of him on the floor to use her as a human shield.
In a statement read out in court, she said: “I cannot find the right words to describe how horrific it was. My kids came so close to having no Mummy. I begged and pleaded with him to stop, but he didn’t care.
“The panic and desperation I felt was out of this world. He showed no remorse or guilt for what he’d done.”
She said that chillingly, Schofield told her after inflicting multiple stab wounds: “’Your blood stinks. You know you’re dying don’t you’, and I actually believed I was.”
A police officer who had a revolver pointed at his head when he went into the house at the start of the siege said he had it had left him distraught: he had never experienced that level of fear in his career before.
The court was told the weapon was in fact a genuine gun, but it had been rendered inactive making it impossible to fire – but none of his victims knew that at the time.
The officer said: “I thought this guy was going to kill me, and shoot me in the head.”
He said he still suffered flash-backs of the incident six months later.
Steven Sullivan defending, told the court that Schofield who had alcohol and drug issues, was “deeply remorseful and ashamed” of his actions.
He said: “He is shocked and disgusted by his own conduct, and determined to address his problems and educate himself while in prison.”