Knife thug locked up

A VIOLENT attacker has been jailed for five years after he knifed a dad in a Sheffield hardware store following a fight at a cash machine.

David Johnson, aged 36, stabbed 28-year-old Steven Broomhead in the chest and thigh in front of horrified shoppers at Wilkinson's on Bradfield Road, Hillsborough.

Sheffield Crown Court heard the pair had brawled shortly before the attack at Lloyd's TSB cashpoint after Mr Broomhead thought Johnson was about to rob his pregnant partner Laura Damms.

Johnson, who had downed half a litre of vodka, told police: "I stabbed him - what would you do? He's lucky I didn't stab him in the neck."

Afterwards Mr Broomhead said he "might well have been killed" and found the incident "extremely upsetting," while Laura now feels "anxious and scared" about using her local shops.

Prosecutor Neil Coxon said Mr Broomhead was shopping in Hillsborough with Laura and her 80-year-old grandfather, who suffers from Alzheimer's, on October 7 last year.

Mr Coxon said: "The defendant came up and stood right behind her. It appeared he was unnaturally close, and he appeared to be peering over the shoulder of Miss Damms."

Mr Broomhead thought Laura was about to be robbed and asked Johnson to move.

But Johnson "raised himself up" and Mr Broomhead pushed him in the chest fearing they were about to be attacked. Johnson fell to the ground, before standing up, swearing at Mr Broomhead and pushing him.

Mr Broomhead held Johnson in a headlock before releasing him and walking to Wilkinson's, joining Laura and her grandfather.

But Johnson followed him inside, where there was another confrontation.

The pair "grappled" and Mr Broomhead felt "punches" to his upper chest before Johnson lunged at him again, hitting his stomach.

Johnson was then seen trying to hide the knife up his right sleeve.

Mr Broomhead was left bleeding heavily, while Johnson fled the shop and disposed of the blade in a bin.

Johnson claimed he was the victim of an unprovoked attack and carried the knife for DIY and sharpening pencils.

Mr Broomhead required five stitches for puncture wounds to his chest and thigh.

In a victim impact statement, Laura said the incident could have left their five-year-old daughter and new baby "without a father".

Johnson has previous convictions for possessing blades, most recently being caught with a kitchen knife in 2007.

Judge Simon Lawler QC said: "It's true it was a small knife, but it's an extremely unpleasant weapon." Johnson was jailed for five years, minus 93 days spent in custody.

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