`

'The whole thing was like watching a horror film' – onlooker describes the moment he rescued stab victim Alison Cowley from scene of the crime in rural Chorley

Share this article

A man who rescued a woman after she was stabbed in rural Chorley has spoken about the incident he says was the 'scariest moment of his life'.

Robert Newbiggin said: “All of this happened in seconds, not even minutes.

Robert Newbiggin

Robert Newbiggin

Alison Cowley, 50, was stabbed multiple times in the abdomen at an address in Moody Lane, Mawdesley, on Wednesday.

Robert, a former boxer and lifeguard, also of Mawdesley, was driving down Moody Lane at the same time the incident happened.

Robert, 54, said: “Moody Lane is my running route so I know the area quite well.

“I was picking my daughter up from Standish in Wigan. I usually come back a different way and go through Maltkiln Lane.

Police presence in Moody Lane

Police presence in Moody Lane

“So we were driving along [Moody Lane] and I then saw a car parked further up.”

The car was parked next to the property from which Ms Cowley emerged from with stab wounds.

Mr Newbiggin said that he saw a girl -later found out to be Ms Cowley’s daughter - and a man running around the parked car “acting erratically” and “as if it was a game”.

The man was throwing what he thought was water at the girl.

A car was set alight in Moody Lane

A car was set alight in Moody Lane

The next minute he said he overheard the girl swearing.

He said: “I then saw the look on his face.

“Something was not right.

“She was then screaming and then it all went horribly wrong when I smelt petrol and saw a red petrol can.”

Police tape in Moody Lane

Police tape in Moody Lane

Robert said that he saw the man throw petrol on the girl, believed to be 15-years-old, as well as the car.

He said: “The whole thing was horrible from that moment on.”

Robert thought he had to “get the hell out of here” as if the car was to set alight, his car - containing him and his 15-year-old daughter Mercedes - was also at risk.

He said they were 15 feet away from the car when it “erupted in flames”.

“It was a huge fire ball.

“Black smoke...the flames leaped right across the road.”

At that moment Robert thought the girl and man were victims of the explosion.

Seconds later a group of cyclists came towards the scene, with Robert and daughter Mercedes trying to wave them to stop from approaching the scene.

“My daughter stepped out of the car and shouted ‘get back.

“The next minute I looked in the corner of my eye and saw the girl and another person crouched down trying to walk but then falling down.

“They were screaming at the top of their voices ‘help us help!’”

Robert explained to the Post that he then reversed at speed to the two people - the second being Alison Cowley - before leaving the area to his home.

He said Ms Cowley explained how she had been stabbed with a knife around six inches in length.

The girl and Robert’s daughter, who he described as “fantastic” during the whole situation, phoned emergency services to meet them at his home.

Thankfully, Robert’s eight years as a lifeguard in Southport meant he had first aid to assist with the situation, applying pressure to wounds and keeping her upright.

Air ambulance then arrived and took Ms Cowley to hospital, where remains in a serious but stable condition. Her injuries are not believed to be life threatening.

Robery said: “The whole thing was like watching a horror film.

“I could not believe what I had seen. I was up all night that night. It was the scariest thing I have ever been through in my life.

“They could both have died.

“I felt in the end I was saving four peoples lives, me, my own daughter and these two.

“All through this my parental instinct was saying ‘look after her daughter too’.

“Some people are saving you should get a bravery award but it doesn’t feel like that.

“We were just there at the right time.”

Detectives are continuing to trace John Cowley, husband of the stabbing victim, in connection with the incident.

Cowley, 63, is described as white, 5ft 8in tall, with grey hair. He was last seen wearing a light blue polo shirt and dark blue jeans.

Police are appealing for information leading to his whereabouts and advising people not to approach him.

Detective Supt Claire McEnery, of Lancashire Police, said: “We are continuing to work hard to trace John Cowley and to speak to him about what are very serious offences.

“We believe that this was a targeted attack and while we would ask that if anyone sees John they do not approach him but report sightings to the police we do not believe that there is any significant on-going risk to the wider public.

“I would urge anyone who has seen him, or a man matching his description, to contact police immediately.

“I would also urge John himself to hand himself in if he sees this appeal.”

Anyone with information can contact police on 101 quoting log 1091 of October 10 or in an emergency or for an immediate sighting call 999.