A DRUGGED-up robber who knifed a shopkeeper in the windpipe has been told by top judges that his 20-year jail term was not a day too long.

Matthew Liam Whelan, 31, was high on drink and drugs when he repeatedly stabbed Imtiaz ul Haq, then 59.

Mr ul Haq was working at a Costcutter store in Queensferry, Flintshire, on 8 December 2016 when Whelan struck.

The cowardly thug fled with £400, leaving the shopkeeper fighting for his life.

Whelan, of Gladstone Way, Deeside, pleaded guilty to attempted murder and robbery at Mold Crown Court and was locked up in June last year.

At London’s Appeal Court, Judge Anthony Leonard QC heard him ask for a sentence cut, arguing he was treated too harshly.

The court heard Whelan inflicted six stab wounds on his victim as he struggled to stop the shopkeeper pressing an alarm button.

The worst was a “life threatening” blow to the neck which “perforated his trachea.”

Whelan’s lawyers argued the attack was “spontaneous” and that he wasn’t given enough credit for pleading guilty.

But Judge Leonard said Whelan had previous convictions for a “similar” shop raid, carrying a machete and having a Stanley knife.

He slammed the thug for “the taking of drink and drugs and the arming of himself with a knife and the targeting of a small convenience store, run by a member of staff almost twice his age.”

The judge added: “He represented a very high risk of harm to members of the public, particularly those who have access to money or goods.

“The fact that the attack was in the course of a robbery was a very serious aggravating factor. This was his fifth offence involving a knife.

“The judge took account of all the issues which were raised on his behalf.”

Judge Leonard, who was sitting with two other senior judges, concluded: “We see nothing wrong with this sentence and the application is refused.”

Speaking after the High Court hearing Mr Haq said he felt Whelan had no grounds for an appeal after his assailant “tried to kill me”.

He told the Leader: “It was dealt with by the courts and for me, that was the end of it.

“It was the right sentence given by the judge for what he did to me. He tried to kill me, he nearly did.

“I don’t think he had a right to appeal.”