A 22-year-old Elland man who knifed a Christmas reveller within days of being released from prison has been sentenced as a dangerous offender.
Matthew Shaw, who had previous convictions for robbery and threats to kill, stabbed 31-year-old Mark Smorthit in the abdomen during a scuffle between the two men outside the Wellington pub in Elland in the early hours of Christmas Day.
if you continue doing this you’re going to kill somebody
Recorder David Wilby QC told Shaw, of Southgate, Elland, that it was fortunate that the knife had not caused more serious injuries to Mr Smorthit.
“You could have killed this man,” noted the judge.
Bradford Crown Court heard how the attack on Mr Smorthit happened less than two weeks after Shaw had been released from a prison sentence for threatening to kill a former girlfriend.
Prosecutor Clare Benson said Mr Smorthit and his friends had been drinking at the pub on Christmas Eve and just after midnight he went outside.
Witnesses described how Shaw came into the pub to tell his father that someone outside was trying to have a do with him.
Other witnesses heard Shaw saying:”I swear to God I’ll shank him.”
Miss Benson said there was a scuffle between the two men, but as Shaw walked away witnesses noticed that the complainant’s shirt was covered in blood.
Mr Smorthit had been stabbed in his left side and was taken to the Leeds General Infirmary for treatment.
In a victim personal statement made a few weeks after the attack Mr Smorthit said he had had problems sleeping and had suffered panic attacks.
The knife wound had later become infected and the complainant had to undergo a course of antibiotics.
At the time of the statement in January Mr Smorthit was not sure when he would be able to return to work.
Shaw was arrested following the stabbing and he admitted to police that he had been drunk and in a bad mood.
The defendant accepted there was no excuse for what he had done and told police officers he was disgusted with his own behaviour.
Shaw admitted offences of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and possessing an offensive weapon when he made his first appearance at the crown court in January, but his sentence was adjourned for dangerousness assessment by a psychiatrist.
After taking account of the psychiatric assessment and a pre-sentence report Recorder Wilby said he was satisfied that Shaw posed a danger to the public and jailed him for five years for the wounding offence.
But the judge said Shaw’s licence period following his release from prison would be extended by three years to protect the public and to assist the defendant.
“I would like to think, as you advocate has indicated, that there is some appreciation and some understanding by you that if you continue doing this you’re going to kill somebody,” the judge warned Shaw.