Support worker stabbed after helping to take children away

A 19-year-old man has been jailed for stabbing a family support worker who helped to remove several children from a Liverpool family.

Nathan Prescott attacked William Cleator, 48, telling him it was a “warning” from the family, following Cleator’s involvement with a court hearing regarding the case.

Cleator had been removed from the case several months before the stabbing after his office received threatening phone calls hinting that he was being followed, Liverpool crown court heard.

Since the attack, Cleator has been forced to move house and lost his car when it was covered by paint stripper.

The stabbing occured early in the morning on July 29 last year as Cleator walked his dog near his house. Prescott followed him and warned him to mind his own business, the court heard.

Shooting threat

Cleator said: “I was walking the dog when I felt a thud on my shoulder. I turned around and there was a lad there and he lunged at me again, but the dog grabbed his leg.

“His friend appeared with a gun and said he would shoot me and my dog. I grabbed the dog’s collar but they jumped on a motorbike and sped away.”

The Liverpool Council employee only realised that he had been stabbed when he walked away. “I put my hand on my shoulder and it was covered in blood,” he said.

Fear of going out

The father-of-one has been unable to work since the attack due to stress and needs medication for anxiety. But Cleator told the court he hoped to return to work.

“I will probably have to do something which involves sitting behind a desk. I did really love my job. I have seen some real results over the years and I do not regret doing the job at all. This is just one of those things.

“But it has been horrendous for my family. I do not really go out. I would only really feel comfortable taking the dog out with me if my son came with me,” he said.

Nine-year sentence

Prescott denied wounding with intent, leading to Cleator having to give evidence at the trial. The court heard that the former ADHD sufferer was previously of good character.

Prescott received nine years at a young offenders’ institution.

Cleator said he had mixed feelings about his attacker. He added: “He is only a young lad and part of me thinks he might have been groomed into doing it. But that is my job and experience – we tend to look at the bigger picture.”

Council response

Following the sentencing this week, a Liverpool Council spokesman said: “Any attack on staff is a matter of grave concern to the council. We are glad that this case has been concluded and that Mr Prescott has been jailed.”

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