The 19-year-old man who viciously stabbed Francisco Nascimento “in the heart” will walk away scot-free after being found “not guilty” of attempted murder by a Chester Crown Court jury.
Police believed the attack to be homophobic in nature because it happened on the city of Chester’s historic City Walls, a known cruising spot for gay men. According to a witness account, Floyd Evans stabbed his 35-year-old victim near the heart area after he pursued Nascimento and a friend for several minutes. Evans claimed he does not remember the attack because he was drunk.
Though Nascimento had survived the attack, responding paramedics say it was the quick thinking of his friend Gareth Davies that saved his life — the two ran met near the City Walls after a shopping trip at Tesco that evening. Davies reportedly applied direct pressure to the wound, and later helped identify Evans as the attacker.
The Chester Chronicle reports the details from inside the courtroom:
The man [Evans] appeared to stop for a few minutes before turning round and coming back up the steps, which Mr Nascimento said was a signal commonly used by gay men at that spot.
The young man was wearing a hat and hoodie that covered that covered much of his face, and the victim said he felt ‘apprehensive’ about him the moment he saw him.
At one point he moved to show the side of his face, and Mr Nascimento was able to make direct eye contact with him.
He had thought the man was about to walk away when he was suddenly struck in the chest before the other man ran off in the direction of Northgate Street.
During his testimony in court, Evans said he had been out drinking at pubs and had taken some drugs previously that night. He claimed to have no recollection of the evening after doing some shopping at Tesco on his way home. “I’m sure I’d remember plunging a knife into someone,” he said.
Evans also testified that the attack could not have been homophobic in nature, because he “has no anti-gay views.” He told the court that “everyone is equal” and that his “brother is gay and I’m perfectly happy with that” — a statement later corroborated by his gay brother, who also testified in court.
The trial lasted five days and the jury took only three hours to decide that Evans was not guilty of attempted murder. He was later found guilty of “wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm,” and is due to be sentenced in May.
Nascimento is expected to make a full recovery, but has been left “mentally distraught” by the events that almost claimed his life.
Photo: Chester Chronicle