A Cumbria man who carried out a brutal knife attack on a former friend following an argument about money has been sentenced to more than three years in prison.
James Smith, of Collinfield, Kendal, appeared at Carlisle Crown Court yesterday, May 4, for sentencing after previously admitting offences of wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm and possession of a bladed article in a public place following an incident in Kendal on the afternoon of Wednesday, January 18, 2023.
The court heard how the 29-year-old had walked into Boots in Stricklandgate in Kendal shortly after 3pm and found himself in a queue at the pharmacy counter with a man he knew well.
The man had known Smith from their time at college and had given Smith a place to stay in October 2022 when Smith was struggling, at a cost of £50 a week.
However, the two had fallen out when, on January 16, Smith refused to pay for six weeks and then moved out, telling the man he would not be giving him any money owed.
The encounter in Boots was the first time the men had seen each other since Monday and the man asked again about the money he was owed.
Smith not only refused to pay the money but mocked and goaded his former friend regarding the death of someone close to him.
The man then struck Smith in the face, starting a tussle between the two, inside the Boots store.
Smith grabbed the man in a headlock, trying to drag him to the floor. When he was unsuccessful, the man attempted to walk away but was pursued by Smith who then produced a flick knife from his pocket, opened it and leapt at the man.
Smith swung the knife some six times towards the man’s hip, chest and face. Three of the stabbing attacks connected – one to his hip, one to his back close to his shoulder and another to his cheek – and the three others narrowly missed.
The attack was captured on the Boots store’s CCTV camera.
Smith then calmly stood and watched the man bleeding heavily onto the floor before turning and walking away, leaving the store via the rear entrance.
Police and NWAS were swiftly on the scene, with officers helping to treat the badly injured victim of the knife attack when Smith returned, was pointed out, and arrested.
The initial prognosis for the victim was not good and he was taken from the scene via air ambulance.
However, he was fortunate that none of the stab wounds was to prove life-threatening and, after receiving numerous stitches for each of his injuries, he was discharged from the hospital.
Upon arrest, Smith was found in possession of a flick knife and in his police interview, Smith refused to answer any questions. However, he admitted the offences in court.
Acting Detective Inspector Lee Brumpton said: “Any assault involving a knife has the potential to end in tragedy and loss of life. This violent, senseless attack could easily have resulted in death of the victim and Smith standing in court charged with murder.
“Cumbria is one of the safest places in the country to live and to work and there is absolutely no justification for someone deciding to leave their home whilst armed with a weapon.
“I would like to thank all who responded to the incident calmly and quickly, resulting in the victim receiving immediate medical care and the offender being swiftly arrested within minutes of the attack, including the paramedics, the staff at Boots and the customers inside the store, as well as the police officers who not only apprehended Smith but also administered first aid at the scene.”