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Woman jailed after helping teens launch machete attack off Grange Road, Gravesend

A woman who helped two teenagers to ambush a homeless man and attack him with a machete has been sentenced to 18 months in jail.

Despite not being armed with a weapon herself, Muna Fuggles was found guilty at a retrial of inflicting grievous bodily harm (GBH) on the basis that she acted as a "distractor" for the violent and premeditated assault on Henrikas Geralvicius in the early hours of January 27 last year.

Police outside in Grange Road, Gravesend after the stabbing. Picture: KMG
Police outside in Grange Road, Gravesend after the stabbing. Picture: KMG

The Gravesend resident had denied the offence but the jury of seven men and five women returned their unanimous verdict at Maidstone Crown Court today (April 9).

They were told Fuggles and her boyfriend Luke Samuel arranged to meet the victim to buy crack cocaine, thereby "enabling" the young assailants - Tyler Lucock and his 15-year-old accomplice - to pounce from their hiding spot in bushes in Grange Road, Gravesend.

All four had been captured on CCTV journeying "in tandem" to the "carefully chosen and quiet" rendezvous point of an alleyway in Grange Road - Fuggles and Samuel on foot and the teens pushing their bikes.

But as soon as the victim arrived, he was brutally set upon from behind.

The court was told nearby residents heard "piercing screams" as he was stabbed in the back with such force that two ribs were fractured and his diaphragm perforated.

"She and Mr Samuel were there to act as distractors..."

Fuggles, who has previous convictions for assault and threatening behaviour, and her boyfriend were said to have done nothing to help and simply walked calmly away before eventually returning to their home in Medhurst Crescent.

Once his attackers had themselves cycled off, Mr Geralvicius staggered a short distance to Pelham Road where he collapsed outside a British Red Cross building.

He managed to dial 999 and was later taken to King's College Hospital in London where he underwent emergency surgery.

On her arrest, 43-year-old Fuggles told police she and her partner had just gone there "to score" and knew nothing about the attack.

She originally went on trial last year but the jury was unable to reach a verdict.

Lucock, 19, of Taunton Vale, Gravesend, was, however, found guilty of attempted murder and locked up for 18 years and three months.

Tyler Lucock. Photo credit: Kent Police
Tyler Lucock. Photo credit: Kent Police

Samuel, 40, of Medhurst Crescent, Gravesend, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm, as well as an unrelated knife offence, and was sentenced to two years and three months' imprisonment.

The 15-year-old, from Hackney, London, admitted causing GBH with intent and was handed a three-year youth referral order.

The court heard he was a vulnerable youth who had been trafficked and exploited by Lucock.

Fuggles chose not to give evidence at her retrial, which started on April 3.

But prosecutor Rebecca Austin maintained she and her partner had played the "crucial" role of helping to "lower the victim's guard".

Detailing why and how the attack was planned, she explained that 42-year-old Mr Geralvicius had the "misfortune" of selling drugs in an area where Lucock ran his own supply network.

The couple, who were both known crack cocaine users, were therefore recruited to arrange a deal, and in doing so, create the "element of surprise" when the victim turned up.

"She and Mr Samuel were there to act as distractors," said Ms Austin.

"Their purpose was to make the victim think this was a perfectly ordinary drug deal. And that's exactly what they did."

Tyler Lucock and Luke Samuel were jailed after a man was stabbed
Tyler Lucock and Luke Samuel were jailed after a man was stabbed

Although it was Lucock who had contacted Mr Geralvicius, the prosecutor said Fuggles was aware.

Furthermore, said Ms Austin, she not only lied on arrest but also chose not to give evidence to the jury because "she knows she had no convincing story that will stand up to examination".

"Fuggles told the police that she did not know the attack was going to happen. She was shocked and scared when it did and she ran off," added the prosecutor.

"But she is lying. CCTV shows that she did not run, she walked away calmly and did not stop to help the victim or even call 999."

But Fuggles's lawyer John Caudle told the court in his closing speech that the reason she did not call the emergency services was because she did not have a phone.

He also said the prosecution had laid out a highly emotive case - insisting on the jury listening to a recording of the 999 call and being given extensive details about the victim's injuries.

Describing the case as "a non-starter", he added: "There is nothing to indicate that Ms Fuggles knew the attack was going to happen and nothing to show she was in any way a distraction.

"The victim had not known she was going to be there, but went to the meeting place anyway to do a drug deal.

"At the meeting, Fuggles had not spoken to him nor distracted him in any way.

"She was simply accompanying her boyfriend and had no idea what was to happen."

“This terrifying experience has had an indelible impact on him…”

The court heard she had now kicked her drug habit and was currently living in a hostel.

Passing sentence, Judge Philip Statman said that she was "the least involved" of the four defendants.

He added that the jail term imposed would see her being immediately released from court due to time already served both on remand in custody and on bail with a qualifying tagged curfew.

The court heard Fuggles was charged with inflicting GBH as her role allowed the attack to take place and therefore made her responsible for the injuries suffered.

CCTV and phone evidence led to the arrests of all four defendants, with the teenagers also identified by their clothing, Nike trainers and distinctive bike features.

Police outside a house near Grange Road, Gravesend. Picture: KMG
Police outside a house near Grange Road, Gravesend. Picture: KMG

On being cautioned by police, Fuggles replied: "We know nothing. We saw what happened but we don't know anything.

"We were there to score. Two men in black ran away. They were wearing masks."

Mr Geralvicius subsequently told police he was homeless and had been dealing drugs to not only support himself financially but also his own addiction.

But in updating the court, Ms Austin said he was now clean of drugs, working and had been reunited with his family.

"This terrifying experience has had an indelible impact on him but he has turned his life around," she said.

"While he has some physical and psychological scars, he is on the road to recovery in every sense."

At the conclusion of the case, Judge Statman commended the officers involved in the police investigation and praised the efforts of the paramedics and air ambulance staff who treated Mr Geralvicius at the scene.

In an unusual step, he also asked that the CPS write to the medical team in appreciation of their life-saving skills.

"It's rare, I feel, that judges express themselves in such a way that the surgeons who do these operations know how grateful we are," he added.

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