A KNIFEMAN who slashed a stranger’s throat in the street has been jailed for life.
Richard Stoves used a six-inch blade to attack student Stanley Ting as he was walking home from shopping at Tesco.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the 21-year-old pharmacy undergraduate, who is studying at Sunderland University, needed stitches inside and outside the wound to his neck and has been left scarred.
The injury “narrowly missed” a vital artery and the student, who is now in his final year of studying, described what happened to him as “horrific”.
Judge John Evans sentenced Stoves, of Milburn Street, Millfield, Sunderland, to life behind bars after he admitted wounding with intent,
The court heard the 29-year-old has been caught carrying a knife or knives in the street five times in the past.
Judge Evans told him: “The reasons for attacking him that day are not clear, they are unclear to you.
“How close you came to inflicting a fatal wound is not difficult to imagine.
“It is clear that you constitute, in your current condition, a danger to the public and it is a very serious danger at that.
“It is a danger which, I suppose, was there from the first time you took a knife into the streets but it has become more and more of a danger as time has gone on, culminating in the commission of this very serious offence.”
The judge said Stoves must serve a minimum of three years before he can apply for parole but made it clear it is up to the Home Office when he will be finally allowed back on the streets.
Judge Evans said: “They will release you only when they are satisfied it is safe for you to be released.”
The court heard Mr Ting had realised someone was behind him as he carried his shopping bags over the footbridge at the University Metro station in Sunderland on September 22 last year.
Prosecutor Neil Pallister said: “The first thing he felt was an extremely sharp slicing feeling to the side of his neck.”
The court heard Stoves started shouting at the student after the attack but it is unclear what he was saying before he ran off.
Mr Ting realised there was blood coming from the five centimetre wound to his neck and made it to the Sunderland Royal Hospital on foot.
His injury was explored under local anaesthetic but had not damaged any of the internal structures of his neck.
The court heard Mr Ting, who had no problems since he arrived in Sunderland from Malaysia in 2010, was left suffering nightmares and is extremely conscious of his scar, which is visible above his collar line.
The university helped organise taxis to take him to lectures when he first returned to his studies.
The court heard Stoves, who was downing up to nine litres of alcohol per day, as well as drugs, was traced after a media appeal to find the student’s attacker.
When police arrested him at his home, almost a month after the attack, he said ‘aye, I’ve got a good idea what this is all about.’
Jamie Adams, defending, said Stoves’ family have tried in the past to get him psychiatric help and he is willing to try and “sort himself out”.
Mr Adams said: “It is sheer luck there was not more serious injury than there was.”
A spokesperson for the University of Sunderland said: “This was a traumatic experience for our student. Our specialist staff have been offering support throughout, and will continue to do so.
“Incidents like this are extremely rare. The safety of our students is paramount to us and we pride ourselves on our students being able to study and socialise in a safe environment while on campus.”