Drunken man found ‘covered in blood’ after stabbing neighbour

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A drunken man stabbed his neighbour with two separate kitchen knives during a gory attack in a Runcorn flat.

Ian James, 57, Irwell Court, Irwell Lane, was found, by Cheshire police officers "covered in blood" after knifing his former friend Philip Parkinson.

The attack took place in James’s flat in Irwell Court, Irwell Lane, on November 16.

Chester Crown Court heard how James wielded a six-inch bladed kitchen knife, which Mr Parkinson tried to fend off and suffered wounds to his hands in the process.

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However after a struggle ensued James picked up another knife, with a blade twice the size as the first and stabbed Mr Parkinson in the abdomen.

James Coutts, prosecuting at Chester Crown Court yesterday via video conference, said knifeman James was Mr Parkinson's neighbour and the night before had been "loud, raucous, and drunken" outside Mr Parkinson’s front door and also kicked it.

The following day, Mr Parkinson went to James’s flat to discuss the matter and asked him not to do it again.

James, whose "terrible" criminal record included other assaults and arson, was "angered" and turned violent.

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The bloody stabbing happened at Irwell Court on Irwell Lane in Runcorn.

Mr Coutts said: “He became aggressive and picked up a six-inch kitchen knife and use it to gesture towards Mr Parkinson.

“A struggle ensued.

“Mr Parkinson tried to take hold the knife and disarm the defendant.
“The blade snapped.

“The defendant armed himself with another knife – a larger 12-inch-bladed kitchen knife and the struggle continued.

“Mr Parkinson became aware that the defendant was drunk.

“He could smell intoxicants.”

James then stabbed Mr Parkinson.

Mr Coutts said: “He felt the defendant push the knife into his right-hand side and his rib area, and felt a slashing motion.”

The hearing took place via a video conference hosted by Chester Crown Court.

Mr Parkinson banged the defendant’s wrist on the floor causing him to drop the knife, and he then fled the flat calling for someone to call the police and ambulance.

When police arrived they detected alcohol on Mr Parkinson’s breath.

Meanwhile, James called his nephew and told him "he had stabbed someone", prompting his nephew to attend and help the police deal with James.

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Officers followed a trail of blood to James’s flat where they found him "covered in blood", and arrested him.

Mr Parkinson had six stitches to treat the wound to his hand, caused by the smaller knife, and nine stitches in his abdomen, caused by the bigger blade.

There were further "superficial" defence wounds on his hands.

In a victim personal statement he said he suffered pain in his side and his ordeal had set back his own recovery from alcohol addiction.

Knife-wielding James was charged with Section 18 Grievous Bodily Harm but later pleaded guilty to Section 20 unlawful wounding.

Mr Coutts said this followed legal discussions and to deal with the case "as expeditiously as possible in the circumstances".

Judge Steven Everett said warned James he was lucky not to be facing a life sentence for murder.

Mr Coutts said James and Mr Parkinson had been friends but Mr Parkinson had "distanced" himself from James because of his drinking.

He said the defendant James had 38 convictions for 78 offences between 1987 and 2016, with dishonesty, driving matters, criminal damage, public order, arson, burglary, weapons, and alcohol-related offences and "serious" violence all featuring in his "terrible" record.

Mike O’Brien, defending, said James "understands alcohol is linked to his offending and is willing to do whatever work is necessary".

Mr O’Brien secured a 25% reduction in the length of sentence for his client’s guilty plea, adding that James "expresses remorse and regret" for his actions.

He said the stabbing followed a quiet spell for James: “His last violent conviction was 2007, his last conviction was 2016, and since 2013 the defendant has been dealt with by way of a fine or discharge save for one dealt with by way of a curfew.”

Judge Steven Everett, presiding, warned James he was lucky not to be serving a life sentence as he sent him down for 30 months.

He said James must have stabbed Mr Parkinson "at least twice".

During his summing-up, he said: “As I often say, knives are always loaded.

“You pick up a knife and you use it – you picked up two and used it – you have no control over the damage you can do and it was entirely possible that your victim could have died.

“If he had died, I would be sentencing you either for the offence of murder – the imprisonment would be for life with a custodial sentence of at least 20 years before you could be considered for release, or manslaughter, which can result in imprisonment for life.

“You would be going to prison for a very very long time and you would be a very old man before you were released.

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“You have to think about it.

“You have to think long and hard about your behaviour.

“Your record is appalling.”

Judge Everett added he was "aware" James had mental health issues and probation said he would benefit from thinking skills programmes but said his heavy drinking was "self-inflicted".