Man jailed for eight years after stabbing former friend in the back with bread knife

A man has been jailed for plunging a bread knife into the back of a former friend.

Tuesday, 18th June 2019, 3:30 pm
Richard Hodgkinson has been sentenced to eight years in jail after stabbing a 20-year-old man in Ironville. Photo: Derbyshire Constabulary

The victim had emergency treatment to repair a punctured bowel after the attack - but then needed a second operation after a relapse.

He pulled through but remains bedridden and needs nursing care since the March attack. He has scars to the back and chest.

Attacker Richard Hodgkinson, 34, appeared at Nottingham Crown Court and was sent to prison for eight years.

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Richard Hodgkinson has been sentenced to eight years in jail after stabbing a 20-year-old man in Ironville. Photo: Derbyshire Constabulary

Judge Timothy Spencer QC told him: “This is no snip, this is no glancing wound. This punctured the lower part of the back to a depth of 12 centimetres.

“He received prompt and highly skilled medical treatment. Had that not happened, you could have been facing a murder charge. He must have been close to death.”

The judge said it was more serious because Hodgkinson had brought the knife to the street where a fight took place around 3am.

He added: “The courts these days reflect public concern about taking knives - particularly potentially lethal knives - onto public streets.

Victoria Street in Ironville where the attack happened

“When knives get on the streets in the hands of people who are not in proper control because of alcohol, things get out of hand.”

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Alan Murphy, prosecuting, said that the men knew each other and started a fist fight. Hodgkinson ran down King William Street, Ironville, on March 24 but was chased by the other man.

He then took the knife from his waistband and wounded his pursuer. The victim immediately said that he had been stabbed and ‘started to lose colour’, said Mr Murphy.

As the man staggered up the road, someone stemmed the bleeding with a towel. The wound was 12 centimetres deep, the length of the blade.

The man spent 15 hours on a ventilator and five days in hospital.

He said last month: “This assault has caused me so much pain and discomfort. I feel lucky to be alive.

“I am still so shocked someone could cause this injury.”

Hodgkinson, of Sedgwick Street, Jacksdale, admitted wounding and intentionally causing GBH; having an offensive weapon in public; criminal damage.

Graham Heathcote, mitigating, said that Hodgkinson’s partner is due to give birth to their second child shortly. The handyman had suffered a series of setbacks, some caused by difficulties in getting paid for work he had carried out.

He was evicted and had been ‘sofa surfing’.

But he said it was important to remember that Hodgkinson had been chased by the man after the fist fight. He handed himself in soon after the stabbing.

“It is said that alcohol is the mother and father of poor decision-making and it was in this situation. His recollection of the event is very limited,” said Mr Heathcote.

There was also evidence that other people picked up iron bars and attacked Hodgkinson during the incident, added Mr Heathcote.

Detective Constable Stuart Coutin, who led the police investigation, said: “It is my hope that this sentence sends a strong message to those considering carrying a knife. The victim in this case sustained life-changing injuries that day, thanks to an act of mindless violence.

“He will bear the physical and psychological scars of this incident for a very long time and is extremely fortunate to have survived.

“Carrying a knife is never acceptable and whilst it may be considered a status symbol or form of protection, the reality is knives cause irrevocable harm. Not only to victims and their families, but also to those who carry them, their family and friends, and to the wider community as a whole.

“To those who carry knives, my message is clear: stop and think twice about what you are doing.

“Police regularly run targeted patrols to identify those who may be carrying weapons and if we find you in possession of a knife, or any other weapon, we will ensure that you are dealt with swiftly and robustly to help us keep Derbyshire a safe place to live, work and visit.”