A father-of-one who was stabbed in the eye during a street confrontation in Mixenden will need 24-hour care as he tries to recover from his devastating injuries.
Stuart Sinclair, 37, from Mixenden, had a “sword-like” implement pushed into his left eye socket during a late-night confrontation between two groups, some of them armed with weapons.
Mark Ryan, 46, went on trial in July accused of wounding Mr Sinclair with intent to do him grievous bodily harm, but a jury at Bradford Crown Court acquitted him on that charge and found him guilty of the lesser offence of causing grievous bodily harm.
Ryan, of Brow Bottom Lane, Mixenden, claimed he accidentally came across the disturbance, but jailing him for four years Judge Mark Savill said he was satisfied that the defendant had willingly gone to the arranged meeting armed with an implement.
Although Ryan and Mr Sinclair had previously been friends the court heard that there had been ill-feeling between them prior to the confrontation which took place outside a row of disused shops on Stanningley Road in February.
Judge Savill said Ryan’s abusive and aggressive behaviour towards Mr Sinclair suggested that he was “spoiling for a fight” and he had deliberately thrust the implement, which had never been found, towards his victim at a time when he may have thought he was going to be attacked by the complainant.
“This weapon penetrated his eye socket with devastating consequences,” said Judge Savill.
“By acting in this way the jury decided you were acting unlawfully and beyond any reasonable self defence.”
The judge said Mr Sinclair had suffered life-changing injuries as a result and indicated that he had read moving victim impact statements from members of his family.
The impact of the implement caused a brain haemorrhage which had left Mr Sinclair unable to walk without assistance and suffering neurological problems which meant he needed 24-hour care.
Judge Savill explained that the maximum sentence for the offence of causing grievous bodily harm was five years and he said it had been a difficult sentencing exercise.
By strange irony Ryan himself lost the sight in his right eye in an accident at work in 2012 and the court heard that a psychiatrist had suggested that the defendant was suffering from a post traumatic stress disorder.
During his trial Ryan turned up at court with a variety of illegal medication and a small amount of cannabis which was discovered by a security officer as he entered the dock.
Ryan pleaded guilty to possessing those Class B and Class C drugs and he was sentenced to two months in jail to run alongside his four-year prison term for the GBH offence.
Barrister Ken Green, for Ryan, said the jury’s verdict clearly showed that they weren’t sure that his client intended to cause the injuries that Mr Sinclair sustained.
“Throughout all my meetings with Mr Ryan he has alway been at pains to express his sadness at the injury caused to Mr Sinclair,” submitted Mr Green.
“I am anxious, and certainly Mr Ryan is anxious, for Mr Sinclair and his family to know that he does feel very sad about what happened to Mr Sinclair.”
Speaking after the case, Detective Chief Inspector Jim Dunkerley, of West Yorkshire Police Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said: “Ryan was responsible for an appallingly violent attack that has left the victim with significant life-changing injuries.
“We hope the fact that he has now had to answer for his actions will provide some reassurance to the victim and serve as a reminder to others of the serious penalties that violent offences such as this will attract.”