A thug, who brutally murdered a young mum when she went to the aid of a stranger and her baby in a Cheshire street, has been jailed for at least 22 years. Stephen Duggan smashed a broken wine bottle into the neck of mum-of-two Alison Wilson after first assaulting her partner, scarring him for life.
Ms Wilson, 36, and partner Anthony Tomlinson, 43, were in a cab at 11.20 pm on 7 March 2015 when they stopped at a chip shop in Frank Street, Widnes. They noticed Duggan, 28, embroiled in a row with a woman holding a baby in a car seat. The argument grew more violent and Alison, fearing for the baby's safety, decided to intervene.
Liverpool Crown Court heard how Duggan, who was drunk, turned on the couple, swearing then smashing the bottle into Mr Tomlinson's face, causing permanent damage. As he dropped to the floor Duggan thrust the bottle into Ms Wilson's neck, severing her left jugular. The other woman, who cannot be identified, sustained a black eye and the baby fell to the floor sustaining facial injuries. Duggan then walked away.
Mr Tomlinson was able to call 999 and police and paramedics arrived. Ms Wilson and Mr Tomlinson were both rushed to nearby Whiston Hospital for emergency surgery but Ms Wilson had lost too much blood and died six days later. Duggan had returned to his father's house where he had earlier been celebrating the prospect of a new job and was arrested soon afterwards.
Jailing Duggan for a minimum 22 years Mr Justice Holroyde said: "In a matter of minutes or even seconds you killed a thoroughly decent, public-spirited young woman, herself the loving mother of young children." Reports inside the court said Duggan smirked as he was led down.
Following the trial, Ms Wilson's family released a statement, which said: "The day Alison died changed our lives forever. We have struggled as a family to come to terms with what happened and the fact that she was taken from us in such a cruel and violent way. Alison was being a good Samaritan and trying to help other people – that is the kind of person she was and how we want her to be remembered.
"Today's guilty verdict brings the investigation to a conclusion and will see her attacker behind bars. Whilst no amount of justice will bring Alison back we hope that it will allow us some closure as we try to move forward with our lives. We would like to thank Cheshire Police for its support throughout the investigation and to all those who tried to help Alison at the scene."