Sunderland man stabbed friend through the heart after early-morning house call

Lee Johnson
Lee Johnson
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A knifeman who stabbed his friend through the heart during a doorstep confrontation has been told he is a public danger and put behind bars for 12-and-a-half years.

Lee Renwick called at pal Lee Johnson’s flat on the way home from a night out and was greeted with a headbutt to the face followed by a terrifying knife attack.

The weapon’s six inch blade pierced the right ventricle of Mr Renwick’s heart and left him needing emergency surgery followed by a stay in intensive care attached to a drain.

At Newcastle Crown Court yesterday Judge Advocate General Camp said: “It could have killed him.”

The judge said Johnson, who cut off another victim’s finger during a previous violent attack, will only be released from the 12-and-a-half year term when the parole board is satisfied he is safe to be back on the streets and could serve the full sentence.

Even after the 12-and-a-half years Johnson, 33, of Claremont Terrace, Sunderland, will be on an extended five year licence period.

The judge told him: “I have no doubt at all you are dangerous.

“You will only be released if the parole board think you no longer constitute a danger to the public.

“If not, you will have to serve the whole of the 12-and-a-half years.”

The court heard the attack happened on March 4 when Mr Renwick, 29, had been on a night out in Sunderland city centre and decided to call at his pal’s home on the way back in the early hours.

The court heard after asking the unexpected visitor if he was on his own, Johnson came out of the flat and headbutted Mr Renwick twice on the nose.

Prosecutor Mark Guiliani told the court: “Mr Renwick shouted ‘what are you doing? We are friends.

“The defendant, when he was doing this, had a blue handled knife with a blade of about six inches.

“He pushed the blade of the knife against Mr Renwick’s neck and his forehead, causing several small cuts to his neck and forehead.

“By this stage, Mr Renwick was trying to push him away.

“The defendant came at him again, stabbed him in the left side of the chest, under his left armpit.

“That pierced the right ventricle of Mr Renwick’s heart.”

The court heard Johnson stopped the attack and took his victim inside the house, where he allowed him to lie down and called 999.

Mr Johnson was treated at the Royal Victoria Infirmary at Newcastle.

He told police after the attack: “It is not nice being stabbed by a so-called friend. I trusted Lee, he was a good friend, we were mates.

“I needed an operation, I could have been killed. I have no idea why he has done this to me.”

The court heard the two men had had a falling out a few months earlier when Johnson accused Mr Renwick of damaging a door in his block of flats but there had been no other trouble.

Alec Burns, defending, said Johnson came to the door armed because his home had come under attack in the past and he had not gone out looking for trouble that night.