A MAN who slit another man’s throat in a “savage, frenzied and life threatening attack” over a drugs debt has been jailed for twelve and a half years.
Defendant Michael Cullen, 31, was heard to shout ‘I cut him good’ as he left the house in Mold where the attack took place.
In court he was branded a dangerous man and his licence period on release was extended by two and a half years.
That formally makes it a 15-year sentence when he can be
recalled to prison after Judge Rhys Rowlands, sitting at Mold Crown Court, said he was high risk of causing serious harm to others.
Cullen, of Salerno Drive, Huyton, Liverpool, had originally been charged with the attempted murder of Christopher Hall, 40, in Nant Garmon, but the prosecution accepted his plea to wounding with intent at an earlier hearing.
The defendant’s brother Steven Crowney, 32, of Prescot, Liverpool, was previously jailed for 34 weeks after he previously pleading guilty to assault causing actual bodily harm.
He punched the victim before the knife was produced by Cullen who used it to cut his throat and cause other injuries to his face, chest and arms, said prosecuting barrister John Philpotts.
The victim nearly bled to death and has been left with brain damage as a result of the drop in his blood pressure.
It was all over a drugs debt, variously described as £20, £30 or £50.
Since the attack the victim had changed his life-style and given up drugs completely.
Judge Rowlands said that Mr Hall had been left with ‘horrific and life-threatening injuries’.
He had suffered complications and it had a profound and continuing effect upon him.
The judge said that but for the skill of those who treated him – staff at Mold community hospital, paramedics and then the staff at Wrexham Maelor Hospital – then there was ‘every prospect that he would have lost his life’.
He said the injuries ‘were very bad indeed’ following a sustained attack.
Judge Rowlands said that it was a reflection of how much the defendant had lost control that as he left he shouted ‘I cut him good’.
The defendant, who had previous convictions for 38 offences starting at the age of 12, had been out with a blade and had been prepared to use it.
Expressions of remorse had ‘a fairly hollow ring to them’, the judge said. He denied responsibility until a late stage.
Mr Philpotts said the defendant supplied Mr Hall with drugs and the two men had exchanged blows over the debt twice previously.
On the evening of January 5 the victim went to a house in Nant Garmon, Mold, where drugs were being dealt.
The defendant and his brother came from another room and the attack began.
Mr Philpotts said that Mr Hall repelled an attack by the brother but Cullen without saying a word began to punch him, as the victim originally believed.
“But they were not punches. He was armed with a Stanley knife and he used it to slice him,” said Mr Philpotts.
He appeared to be deliberately aiming at the neck and Mr Hall tried to defend himself using his arms, legs and feet but was left with a number of injuries.
His jugular and facial artery had been cut, he was driven to the Mold community hospital where it was realised his injuries were ‘time critical’ and a senior nurse thought he would die.
His blood pressure fell, he became very pale and drained, and his blood loss was severe.
There was a danger of cardiac arrest ‘literally at any time’ and he was struggling to stay awake.
A paramedic told how blood was flowing from the neck wound ‘like a river’ and on arrival at Wrexham his Glasgow coma scale was the lowest recorded short of death at three out of 15.
“He was close to death,” said Mr Philpotts.
“It is clear that without the emergency treatment then he would have died.”
Defending barrister Brendan Carville said that his client had a very difficult upbringing and had lived in various care homes.
He started offending at an early age but had no convictions for drug supply.
He had lived at Mold for four years where he had a relationship with a local woman. It was not a case of someone travelling from Liverpool to commit an offence in North Wales.There was bad blood between them and it was his case that in two previous incidents between them, that the defendant ‘came off second best’.
He wished to apologise to Mr Hall and had genuine remorse for what he had done.