Brutal broken bottle attack in Sunderland street left man 'lucky to be alive'

Swan Lodge
Swan Lodge

An attacker who repeatedly stabbed a man's head and neck in a broken bottle assault that left the victim "lucky" to survive has been jailed for eight and a half years.

Lee Richardson came "very close" to cutting his victim's carotid artery, which would have been fatal, when he lashed out during a row in High Street East, Sunderland, in September last year.

Lee Richardson

Lee Richardson

Newcastle Crown Court heard the victim suffered injuries including a 6in gash from his ear to neck, a 4in wound to the side of his face, a cut to his forehead and wounds to his thigh and body.

A doctor who examined the neck injury said the man was "lucky to be alive".

The victim, who had been visiting friends that night, said during the attack: "I honestly thought I was going to die".

The court heard 34-year-old Richardson claimed the other man punched him first before he picked up the broken bottle neck.

Prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw told the court: "The victim states he felt something sharp being stuck into the left side of his neck.

"He felt blood and realised he had been stabbed in the neck.

"The victim describes a sustained assault being carried out upon him by the defendant, who pinned him to the ground and used the broken bottle neck to inflict a number of injuries.

"The victim was aware of the broken bottle being stabbed downwards into his skull.

"He cannot remember how many times he was stabbed with the bottle neck to his head and neck area, but was aware of then being stabbed to his body and thigh with the same weapon.

"He feared for his life, such was the sustained nature of the assault upon him."

Richardson, who was living at Swan Lodge hostel in High Street East, and who has a long criminal record, admitted wounding with intent.

Judge Amanda Rippon told Richardson: "He lost count of the number of times he was stabbed. He genuinely thought he was dying.

"He knew the wound to his neck was bleeding profusely.

"He came very close to being killed by you, you were very close to his artery. If you had severed that, I suppose nothing could have been done for him.

"It was more by chance than design that you didn't kill him that day."

Adam Birkby, defending, said Richardson had stayed out of trouble since his last release from prison, had stayed away from alcohol and is facing a positive future.

Mr Birkby added: "This was the first night he had gone out and drank to excess, and this is what happened.

"He accepts he has thrown that away by his response to that punch. He is sorry for what he did."

Mr Birkby said Richardson has placed himself at risk of retaliation and has been informed a gang has put a "price on his head", which has led to threats and hostility in prison.