Moped murder victim Danny Pearce’s lover first thought attack was a prank – then willed him to live after he was stabbed
Panic-stricken Stephanie Holland, 31, desperately tried to stem the flow of blood from Danny’s wounds after moped muggers knifed him in the worst sustained stabbing police have ever seen.
Yesterday she wept as she told The Sun how she believed the monstrous pair were pulling a bad-taste prank when they stepped out in balaclavas – like a duo from a cartoon strip wielding a hunting blade and a gun.
But seconds later she watched as first one and then the other lunged at innocent dad Danny, 31 – knifing him relentlessly for over two minutes just for his Rolex.
Stephanie – who believes the horrific attack has changed her for ever – said: “I really thought it was a joke. There was one guy with a gun in his hand and another had a knife, they were wearing balaclavas and I laughed. I actually laughed.
“They looked like caricatures of criminals, as if they were in fancy dress and this was some sort of comedy set-up. But then one of them shot the gun directly at us and then reality hit home.
“They were asking us to hand over stuff and I just shouted ‘run’ and started running in the opposite direction. I remember I fell in the middle of the road and I turned around and saw that Danny was not there.”
Stephanie instinctively turned back, in abject fear for her partner. She said: “I could see they were in between two parked cars and Danny came running out and he had blood flowing from his head.
“I yelled ‘run’ but he was struggling. He walked up to a house on the road and knocked on the door but the guy followed him into the doorway and just kept stabbing him, not just once but continuously.
“I was screaming at him “stop”, I’ll give you the watch.He came down the step with the bloody knife towards me.I don’t know what I was thinking but I knew I had to get the watch off Danny and give it to him so I went up the steps, swerved round the guy to get to Danny and took the watch off his wrist as he lay on the floor. I just threw it at the guy and he left.
“Somebody opened up the front door, Danny was losing consciousness at that point, I remember. I tried to cover his wounds – they were on his side, neck, everywhere. I remember just thinking, ‘don’t die’. Danny didn’t say anything.”
The couple had been out for dinner at a sushi restaurant in Greenwich before visiting Oliver’s jazz club on a balmy summer’s evening last July. They left the club at around midnight with plans to go to a nearby bar.
Make-up artist Stephanie said: “It had been a fun evening, we played pool – Danny and I used to be really competitive with one another. We left quite early and we were walking towards the car which was parked just down the road. We had not gone very far when I saw these two men standing in front of us.”
CCTV shows the pair had driven past Stephanie and Danny, clocked his £7,000 Rolex, turned around and waited for the couple to walk into their path. Killer Jordan Bailey-Mascoll can be seen signalling in the footage as he and an unknown accomplice dubbed “Ghost” spotted the watch.
Danny – dad to tot Gracie – can be seen sprinting past the camera chased by armed Bailey-Mascoll before the pair struggle over a car bonnet and Danny is viciously stabbed by both men.
Police called to the scene following the attack escorted Stephanie away before Danny, an electrician, was declared dead. Officers then tried to persuade Stephanie to go home but she refused – unable to leave her partner and unable to accept he was dead.
She broke down as she said: “It was awful. I thought everybody was lying to me. I stayed there until about 7am. I didn’t believe it was real. I thought that it was some sort of really f***ed up reality show or a sick joke.
“Sometimes I still think that now. I think I’m going crazy sometimes. It didn’t feel real and it still doesn’t. I just didn’t want to go. They wouldn’t let me near Danny. I just wanted to see him. Eventually, I went to Danny’s sister’s house and then I went home – just to check Danny wasn’t there. I still thought it might have been some f***ed-up joke.”
The couple – who had been together for a year – met in a beer garden in Bromley after they got chatting while sitting at neighbouring tables. They hit it off straight away and soon began dating, moving in together about six months later.
Stephanie fought back tears as she said: “Danny was one of those people who was liked by everybody, he was so charismatic and had such a big heart. He was so kind and so charming. Too charming, really.
“We had so much fun together and so many adventures. He was really into football and would have been really into the World Cup. He was always happy., always smiling. We would always be doing something and had lots of plans for the future but that’s never going to happen now. I still don’t think the reality of what has happened has kicked in yet.
“I’m not the same person – I don’t think that anybody would be. I’m so paranoid about everything now. I didn’t go out in the dark for about six months. As soon as it got to 6pm or 7pm I would be inside. I can’t walk down the street without jumping at a loud noise or screaming if I get a fright. I am constantly on edge.”
Following Bailey-Mascoll’s conviction last month, investigating officers detective inspector Jo Sidaway branded the two-minute attack the most sustained random stabbing in her near three-decade career.
Stephanie is now calling for action to tackle London’s knife crime epidemic and the escalating number of appalling moped attacks. She wants tougher sentences for suspects who cast off their helmets to deter cops from a police chase. She is also pushing for police to be protected when it comes to high-speed pursuits involving helmet-less thugs on a bike.
She said: “No one should have to experience what we went through. This sort of thing shouldn’t be going on anywhere, let alone in London. It doesn’t matter where you are or who you are, I don’t think anybody is safe now. Something needs to be done immediately. What is the Government actually doing?
“We need to get to the root of the problem. Moped crime is escalating – there’s something happening almost every single day and people are getting away with it. Clamping down on the sale of knives is not going to do anything. Everyone has a knife in the kitchen drawer at home.
“They are so easily accessible. You can go to any restaurant and nick a steak knife. What is being done to help kids stay on the right track in the first place? Not enough. Police also need to know that they can chase people who discard their helmets. If someone chucks of their helmet, they should know that they do so at their own risk and face a tough sentence for it.”
Bereft Stephanie has also called for more action to prevent kids from turning to crime in the first place. She has met with her local Bromley MP Bob Neill to ask for support.
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