A 'DANGEROUS' knifeman who launched a 'frenzied' cocaine-fuelled attack on his friend has received a 23 year sentence for attempted murder.

Richard Smith bashed the man about the head with an electric storage heater in the victim's own flat before inflicting 24 separate knife wounds to his head, neck, back and hands. The 32-year was jailed for 18 years with an extended licence period of five years (total sentence 23 years) at Worcester Crown Court yesterday for the ferocious Malvern attack.

The judge ruled that Smith, who has a history of violence, was dangerous, especially when under the influence of drugs. Though the judge did not impose a life sentence he deemed an extended sentence necessary to protect the public. Smith must serve at least two thirds of the 18 year prison sentence before the Parole Board consider whether it is safe to release him and under what terms. The father stabbed and slashed James Gillott with such ferocity the knife snapped and part of the victim's ear was left hanging off, later having to be partially amputated. The victim, left with permanent scars, lost two thirds of his blood and had to have an urgent blood transfusion and surgery at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

The victim's ear was hanging off

Even when Mr Gillott begged for his life Smith did not break off the attack and only did so after the knife broke and the victim managed to smash his own kitchen window with a cup-holder and call for help.

The attack happened in the victim's one-bedroom, groundfloor Malvern flat on November 13 last year. Smith had become paranoid that Mr Gillott and Mr Gillott's friend had 'hacked' his computer. It was a suspicion for which there was never any evidence and 'no justification'. The trial heard that Smith had been behaving oddly in the days before the attack and became paranoid due to the use of cocaine. However, a psychiatrist could find no evidence mental illness had proved a significant factor in the attack.

Smith, previously of North Malvern Road, Malvern was convicted unanimously of attempted murder by a jury in May. He always admitted wounding with intent but denied that he meant to kill Mr Gillott.

Smith was paranoid

Rebecca Wade, prosecuting, described how Smith had thrown Mr Gillott a Valium tablet before attacking him in his bedroom. Smith later pushed the storage heater down on the victim's throat as Mr Gillott begged for his life, saying: "I have a daughter."

Miss Wade said: "We would describe it as a ferocious and sustained attack using two weapons, a knife and an electric heater, to repeatedly strike him, causing multiple injuries."

Smith has 31 convictions for 59 offences including possession of a knife in public, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, affray, battery, assaulting a police officer, stalking, possession with intent to supply cannabis, public order and motoring offences. Judge Nicholas Cole said: "This was a frenzied attack on a man who had been your friend.

"He genuinely and understandably in the circumstances thought he was going to die."

He added: "Without the prompt and excellent surgical intervention it's likely death would have ensued." Smith was told mitigating factors included his guilty plea to wounding and 'the remorse you have expressed'.