AS BRUTAL murderer Lea Mason was last week jailed for life, one Macclesfield man in particular was thankful to see him safely off the streets.
Ex-special forces officer Colin Tattersdale, 54, formerly of Pitt Street, will never forget the moment he came face to face with Mason in a violent doorstep altercation which led to a courtroom ordeal, forced him into hiding and "ruined his life".
Of Mason, who faces at least 17-and-a-half years behind bars for the violent murder of Blackpool paedophile Darren Presley, he said: "It was inevitable. It was only a matter of time before he killed someone. Lea is scum. He ruined my life completely. I had a good life in Macclesfield, friends, a job and I lost it all, just because on that particular day he decided to buzz on the wrong door."
In an exclusive interview from his secret address in the south of England, he added: "What I struggle to get my head around is that for me it was a one-time meeting, just a chance encounter with a stranger. And look what happened to me. I suppose in a way I was lucky."
Colin, now a survival instructor, went into hiding on police advice after his encounter with ex-butcher Mason, 33, formerly of Turnock Street, who, a court heard, "got the wrong address" when he tried to enter Colin’s flat at the Old Ribbon Mill in 2005.
Covering the case in February 2006, the Express was in Knutsford Crown Court when Colin was unanimously cleared of possessing a fake firearm with intent to cause fear and unlawful wounding, after a four-day trial which heard how Tattersdale – holding a starting pistol – chased Mason from his doortep.
Colin read with horror last week’s story of how Mason and his accomplice Stephen Brian Kidd, 37, originally from Stoke, used knives to stab and a frying pan to bludgeon their victim to death after learning he was a convicted sex offender.
Although Colin – a former soldier who has two medals for distinguished service as well as a United Nations commendation – survived his own encounter, Mason has left a lasting impression on his life.
Colin was advised by his barrister, police, and friends and family to leave Macclesfield after his ordeal, such was the fear of revenge.
The divorced dad-of-two added: "They just said to get out, so I did. They were scared he’d seek revenge. But I’m still not back to where I was. I was so happy in Macclesfield, I had lots of friends there but now I can never go back. I’m not scared of Mason, I just couldn’t live with the aggro. But now I know he’s exactly where he belongs. And believe me, the streets of Macclesfield are safer for it."
Mason was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday, January 22.
Mason and co-defendant Kidd both pleaded guilty to murder at Preston Crown Court.