Knifing victim scarred for life

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Two “dangerous” Sheffield men, locked up after a vicious knife attack on an innocent man in his own home, have failed to convince a top judge that their jail terms were over the top.

Mr Justice Macduff said he had viewed “appalling photos” of the host of slash wounds inflicted on David Hayer at his home in Nottingham Street, Pitsmoor, during the senseless attack in June last year.

And he ruled that there was nothing “excessive” about the stiff prison sentences imposed on the assailants - Lee Darren Scopes, aged 27, and Craig Osbourne, 41 - who left Mr Hayer scarred for life and his flat covered in blood.

Scopes, of Eastern Avenue, Arbourthorne, and Osbourne, of St Philips Road, Netherthorpe, were caged at Sheffield Crown Court in November last year after previously admitting wounding with intent.

They were each given 12-year extended sentences - made up of eight-year jail terms and four-year extended licence periods.

Mr Justice Macduff said the attack on Mr Hayer began when his ex-girlfriend, Natasha Higgins, 21, used her key to get into his flat and tried to put him in handcuffs. She admitted wounding with intent earlier this month and was given an idefinite hospital order.

Scopes and Osbourne were with her and Osbourne launched the knife attack, stabbing Mr Hayer in the neck.

He fought back and, after the knife fell from Osbourne’s grasp, Scopes picked it up and repeatedly slashed at Mr Hayer’s face and body. The trio fled after hearing a police siren and Mr Hayer walked himself to hospital.

The judge, sitting with Lord Justice Gross and Mr Justice Owen, said he had seen “appalling photos” of the injuries and Mr Hayer’s blood drenched flat and said it was only “good fortune” he survived.

Scope denied he was armed when he entered the flat and said he did not go there intending to attack anyone, although he pleaded guilty on the basis of “joint enterprise”.

“The reasons behind the cowardly and brutal attack remain unknown,” said the judge.

Upholding Scopes’ sentence, Mr Justice Macduff, said that, whatever his intention when he entered the flat, he “seized the opportunity” to pick up the knife, acted as “a willing and active supporter” to Osbourne, and joined in the attack “with gusto”.

He repeatedly slashed an already wounded man, had a previous conviction involving a bladed article, and was subject to a suspended sentence at the time of the attack, the judge added.

Both he and Osbourne had been rightly found to be “dangerous offenders” and the sentences imposed on them “cannot be faulted”, Mr Justice Macduff concluded.