AN 89-year-old man has appeared in court accused of slashing the throat of a 60-year-old Darwen worker.

Steven Waring, who has worked at Edmund Proctor Skip Hire for more than 20 years, received a three-inch knife wound to his neck. He said doctors had told him he was lucky to be alive as the injury was just millimetres away from his jugular.

Pensioner William Dutton, a next door neighbour of Mr Waring, is accused of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to the 60-year-old and possession of a bladed article.

Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard that frail Dutton, who appeared in court wearing glasses, a large green Parker-style coat and a hearing aid, was charged after an alleged incident on Sunday.

It was said to have happened outside the semi-detached home Dutton shares with his 86-year-old wife and their son, Ronald.

Mr Waring, who lives with his wife Janetten in Breightmet Drive, Breightmet, Bolton is a skip van driver for Edmund Proctor Skip Hire in Bolton Road, Darwen.

He said: “I didn't realise what had happened at first because it just felt very warm. Then there was lots of blood and I just panicked.

“I started feeling very woozy and went inside to my wife.

“There were lots of police and paramedics in the kitchen and I could tell by their faces they thought it was bad.

“In the hospital the doctors said I was lucky to be alive. Apparently it missed my jugular by millimetres and came very close to damaging my voicebox.

“I feel like I'm lucky to still be here but it has all been just such a shock."

His workmates yesterday said they were shocked that he had been attacked.

John Proctor, managing director of Edmund Proctor Skip Hire, said: “It’s just come as such a shock to us all.

“Steven has worked for us for just over twenty years and has been a good employee.

“We don’t know a right lot about what has happened but we wish him all the best for a speedy recovery.”

The 60-year-old lived in Blackburn for four years before getting married to Janette and moving to Bolton in 2001.

The couple have one daughter, Debbie.

One neighbour said he was ‘completely shocked’ by what had happened.

He said: “It is remarkable to hear. Mr Dutton has lived in the house since about 1970 and I have always thought he was a mild-mannered, polite man and also very small and frail.”

Dutton had been due to appear in court yesterday morning but the hearing was postponed to allow him to visit hospital.

He was well enough to appear at Manchester Magistrates in the afternoon.

The 89-year-old, who had a visible injury on the right side of his head, did not enter a plea as District Judge Khalid Qureshi sent the case to Bolton Crown Court for a preliminary hearing on February 14.

Mr Dutton was granted condition bail with an electronic curfew from 8am until 6pm and must stay at the home of a family friend Beverly Haworth who lives in Stansfield Close, Tonge Moor.