Hitmen came to my house and stabbed me 22 times – I never found out why

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    A van driver who was brutally stabbed by two hitmen still has no idea why he was attacked.

    When he heard a knock on his door in the middle of the night, Darren Barden assumed it was a mate telling him he’d overslept and was late for his shift. But when he opened the door, Darren was confronted by two hitmen who silently nodded at each other before subjecting him to a frenzied knife attack.

    Within moments, he was on his hallway floor. “I could just feel my head being battered…I didn't know I'd been stabbed all over my body,” he said.

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    Doctors later counted at least 22 separate knife wounds on Darren’s head and body, but there may have been many more where the attackers had plunged the blades in over and over again at the same spot.

    “I had seven serious wounds in my skull,” Darren told podcaster Dodge Woodall. “I had really bad one in my back ,where you could put your whole hand in…

    “I had cuts on my legs , across my bum, and across my chest. What they do is, they put two blades in a Stanley knife and separate them with a match so where it cuts, you can't be sewn up. I could just feel my head being battered constantly, but I didn't know at the time that I'd been stabbed all over my body"

    The attack lasted three or four minutes. A witness dialled 999 from a nearby callbox at 12.03am and it was 12.06am when Darren managed to drag himself to his phone and call 999 himself.

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    Darren’s wife Wendy, had been upstairs with their one-year-old with their son, George who was teething at the time. “She came downstairs in her bare feet, walking through puddles of my blood,” he said.

    The horrific incident took place on October 7, 1996, and to this day Darren has no idea who his attackers were, or why he had been targeted. “I’d actually crashed my van during the day,” he recalled.

    “It was my last day with one particular company and I was starting a new job the following morning. When I say crashed, I just bumped into someone in Redbridge in East London – no great shakes no dramas but he didn’t want to take any details, because I don’t think it was his car, and just shot off.”

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    A police investigation turned up no clues as to the identity of the hitmen that had stabbed Darren, and no reason why anyone would want to attack him. He admitted that he knew one or two petty criminals in his area, but wasn’t involved any kind of villainy himself.

    Darren added: “When the police first started investigating because of where I lived, they judged me. It was a crappy old estate yeah in Essex that was known for lots of wrong‘uns, and I think they judged me on that.”

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    But Darren maintains that he wasn’t involved in any sort of criminality. But afterwards, he said: “There were some sort of notorious people who lived in the area.

    "After the event they suddenly thought ‘that's a little bit out of our league’ and suddenly everyone was saying hello to me in the street – all these naughty people started thinking I was someone special.”

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    • Knife Crime
    • Crime

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