A two-timing cage fighter who stabbed his pregnant ex-girlfriend five times has been jailed for 19 years.
Nicholas Leaning, 28, wore a mask while he repeatedly knifed former partner Lauren Oliver, 25, in an attempt to conceal that he was the father of the unborn baby, a jury heard.
Amazingly, both the mother and child survived the horrifying attack in Belton earlier this year.
Leaning was jailed for 19 years for wounding with intent and 10 years for attempting to destroy the life of a child to run concurrently at Hull Crown Court on Tuesday.
After the case Detective Inspector Alan Curtis said: “This case was one of the most horrific I have experienced as a detective and the fact that both the mother and child survived the violent assault was down to huge good fortune.
“Leaning set out with the intention of destroying the unborn baby and he attacked in an almost animalistic fashion. His acts were extremely shocking and it is nothing short of a miracle that the baby was unharmed.”
An earlier hearing was told he launched the attack after learning Lauren made plans with his current girlfriend to carry out a DNA test to prove he was the father of her child.
Lauren was repeatedly stabbed in the abdomen, when she was 34 weeks pregnant, in the doorway of her home in Ashtree Close, Belton, on June 11.
The stabbing led to an emergency caesarean and the premature birth of her baby - who cannot be identified for legal reasons.
During her evidence, Lauren said: “I knew it was him and I knew what he was going for. He was trying to kill the baby. It was like he was enjoying it because he was smiling.”
Simon Waley, prosecuting, told the court Leaning had been going out with Lauren for 18 months when it emerged he had resumed his relationship with ex-girlfriend Lindsay Coombs.
Mr Waley said: “When the defendant learned of (Lauren’s) pregnancy he tried to persuade her to have an abortion and when she said she didn’t want to, he became angry and said he didn’t want to have anything to do with the child.”
He added Lauren and Lindsay had arranged a DNA test to determine who was the father but Leaning would not participate so Lindsay said she would allow DNA from their child to be used. The court heard Lauren was stabbed by Leaning from behind as she walked to her front door. She told police her attacker was wearing a mask – the type Leaning wore as a cage fighter.
Leaning was arrested at his home in Torbay Court, Scunthorpe. He denied attempted murder, attempted child destruction and wounding with intent. He told police he had not been at his victim’s address and others who Lauren had problems with could have attacked her. He later admitted going to her home but denied stabbing her. He claimed she had come towards him with a knife, which the prosecution rejected as “absurd.”
A jury found Leaning guilty of wounding with intent and attempting to destroy the life of a child. He was found not guilty of attempted murder.