Jailed: Robber who slashed his neighbour in ‘traumatic’ attack at Sunderland flat

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A ROBBER who slashed his neighbour with a knife during a terrifying raid at his home has been branded a danger and put behind bars.

Robert Hart needed surgery after Liam Rolfe attacked him with a 10-inch blade while demanding his laptop and threatening to kill him on December 27.

At Newcastle Crown Court yesterday, Rolfe was told by a judge he poses a risk to the public and was jailed for four years with a two year extended licence period.

Judge Jeremy Freedman told him: “It will have been a traumatic, ghastly ordeal for him.

“Mr Hart understandably, genuinely, believed you were going to kill him.

“I have come to the conclusion you are dangerous.

“You are a high risk of committing further specified offences and, should you commit such offences, you pose a significant risk of causing serious harm to members of the public.”

Rolfe, 21, who admitted robbery, has previous convictions which include three previous robberies.

The court heard the men lived in the same block of flats at Toward Road, Sunderland, when Rolfe turned up at Mr Hart’s door and asked for some money, which was refused.

Rolfe then went back to his own flat, armed himself with a knife and returned to Mr Hart’s door.

Prosecutor Christopher Rose said: “He demanded the complainant’s laptop.

“He threatened him with a knife and then attacked him, making slashing movements.

“The complainant used his hands to defend himself and as a result suffered a number of defensive injuries.

“He also held the knife to the complainant’s neck, saying ‘I’m going to kill you’, repeatedly.

“He wouldn’t let him out of the flat.”

The court heard Mr Hart had a number of cuts to his hand and one was so deep it damaged the underlying tendons and required surgery.

Bob Spragg, defending, said Rolfe had a troubled childhood which he used drugs and alcohol to try and cope with.

Mr Spragg said the attack may have been an attempt for Rolfe to get back into custody after being turned away by his family at Christmas.

He added: “He is only 21, there is a real danger he will become institutionalised at this young age.”