A MAN has been jailed for what a judge branded a terrifying and frenzied knife attack that left another man with 56 stab wounds.

Nathan Mark Roberts, 28, of Chester Close in Shotton, was told he will serve at least eight years of a 12 year sentence, which was extended by further two years, to be served on license, after his eventual release.

Drug addict Roberts was found guilty after a week long trial earlier this month of wounding Karl Johnson with the intent to cause him grievous bodily harm.

The Leader:

Nathan Roberts

Judge Rhys Rowlands said he had attempted to deceive the jury during that trial by telling “a ridiculous” story about how he and Mr Johnson had both been attacked by two black men. The truth was, Roberts had lured Mr Johnson to a secluded lane in Garden City with the intention of stealing drugs from him. Using a small knife, Roberts stabbed Mr Johnson 56 times and it was matter of sheer good fortune the physical injuries he suffered had not been any more serious due to him “losing all measure of control”.

Prosecuting barrister Siop ap Mihangel, addressing Mold Crown Court via a telephone link, read out a victim personal statement, in which Mr Johnson said how the incident on October 21 was still haunting him, five months later. He said how he used to be quite a sociable person before the attack and how ever since, has struggled to be able to leave the house and didn’t feel comfortable looking after his own children because he feels too vulnerable.

Mr Johnson, who has suffered a number of panic attacks and after visiting his GP has been diagnosed as suffering from depression, went on to say how he replays the incident “over and over again” thinking if he could have done anything different.

He said: “Despite receiving 56 stab wounds, I feel that I am lucky the consequences weren’t any worse.

“There are more than the just the scars on my body, I look in the mirror now and I feel worthless.

“My life has been completely changed by the actions of Nathan Roberts that night and I will never to be able to forget it.”

Mr ap Mihangel went on to tell the judge how he considered the sustained assault to fall within the higher level of culpability because the attack had been pre-determined and there had been the use of a weapon, in this case, a small knife. There had been an aggravating feature in this case too as Roberts was caught on CCTV buying drink from a Texaco garage on Sealand Road. He did this as Mr Johnson was laying, collapsed on the petrol station forecourt.

Simon Rogers, defending, said that although it had been a sustained assault, far greater harm could have been done and Mr Johnson had made a full recovery, albeit physically. He accepted the aggravating features, but asked the judge to consider not placing the matter squarely in the highest category. His client had no previous convictions and there was no suggestion he has behaved in a violent way in the past. In references provided to the Judge, Roberts was described as being “quiet, polite and well-liked”.

Mr Rogers said: “Despite his drug misuse, he has always been in employment and is described as a hard working individual.

“He has behaved in a way that is entirely out of character.”

Judge Rowlands told Roberts that he had wounded Mr Johnson with the intention of causing him very serious harm. He has lured him to an area he knew would be very secluded and attacked him with a small knife. His victim had to relive the matter during the trial, during which Roberts had shown no remorse or empathy.

He said: “During your trial you tried to deceive the jury by telling them a quite ridiculous story about how you and Mr Johnson had both been attacked by two black men.

“Mr Johnson suffered 56 separate stab wounds, to his head, face, neck, chest and left hand. Upon further examination Mr Johnson had also suffered a collapsed lung.

“It is only a matter of good fortune that none of these stab wounds were any deeper as you had clearly lost all measure of control.”

The Judge went on to say how there had been common ground between the pair as Roberts had owed Mr Johnson money and it is “very likely” to have been drug-related. He said Roberts was an example to anyone about the dangerous downward spiral people can go through when they start taking drugs. He had started smoking cannabis when he was still in school and had progressed from that to start taking cocaine.

Roberts drug problems had been so out of control, his parents had had to bail him out of a £30,000 drug debt in the weeks leading up to the attack last October. On the day of the attack Roberts had bought crack cocaine from a woman in a pub in Flint, and was high on that drug when he planned and carried out the frenzied attack.

He said: “It was dark. You believed you were going to steal drugs from Mr Johnson, using extreme force in order to do so.

“The attack was planned while you were high on crack cocaine.

“You were unlikely to be disturbed and it must have been a terrifying ordeal in what was a frenzied attack.”

The Judge said because a pre-sentence report advising him that Roberts posed a risk of causing serious harm to others and despite not having any previous convictions, he felt compelled to extend the period of 12 years by two more, which would be served on license after his release. However, rather than be eligible for release having served half of his sentence as is normally the case, Roberts will also have to serve two-thirds of the term and only be released if a parole board considered that the right decision to make.