Stabbing in neck “could have been murder”, judge tells Acrefair knifeman

A man stabbed to the neck received life-threatening injuries following scenes in a North Wales village which were today compared to television’s “Shameless” programme.

David Craig Burnie, was jailed for five and a half years.

David Craig Burnie, was jailed for five and a half years.

A man stabbed to the neck received life-threatening injuries following scenes in a North Wales village which were today compared to television’s “Shameless” programme.

Victim Wayne Reginald Hodrien suffered two tears to the jugular vein in the left side of his neck.

The knifeman, David Craig Burnie, was today jailed for five and a half years.

He admitted wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm after an earlier charge of attempted murder was dropped.

Mold Crown Court heard that all parties were under the influence of something and it would never be known precisely what sparked off the violence on the Plas Madoc Estate at Acrefair outside Acrefair, one evening last August.

But following a confrontation at Alwen on the estate, Burnie, 23, went into his home, re-emerged with a knife, and later claimed it was to simply frighten off those who had gathered outside the house.

However, during a fight with Mr Hodrien, Burnie stabbed him to the neck.

In court, it was claimed by defending barrister Robert Parry-Jones that but for the seriousness of the injury the scene would fit into the Channel Four programme “Shameless”.

He said: “It was an appalling situation that occurred that day.”

Judge Niclas Parry told Burnie: “It could have been murder.”

The judge said that once again a person had taken a knife out onto the streets of North Wales to resolve a violent confrontation.

“Once again, a loss of life could have occurred in North Wales because of knife-crime,” he said.

Burnie, he said, had a knife when he was out of control of his senses because of drink.

There had already been a violent confrontation, the defendant did fear for his own personal safety but he could have remained in the house where he had retreated.

“But you chose to come out having collected a knife,” Judge Parry told him.

Outside the violence escalated, the knife was “inevitable used”.

“You used it to stab your victim in the neck. It was life threatening at the time.”

The defendant, he said, had previous convictions for an offensive weapon, two assaults and making a threat to kill.

The judge said that he accepted there was an element of provocation. The greatest mitigation was his guilty plea.

The court heard how the incident happened after the defendant and his girlfriend Claire Hiscock – who had since died – had been to register the birth of their baby.

They spent some time drinking in Wrexham and then returned on the bus to Acrefair.

It was a confused picture about what then took place but Wyn Lloyd Jones prosecuting, said that there appeared to be a number of people in the street, angry about various issues, who appeared drunk or under the influence of something.

The defendant had been involved in a confrontation, went into his house, got the knife, returned outside and was involved in a fight with Mr Hodrien. It was then that he lunged at him with the knife and stabbed him to the left side of his neck.

Mr Hodrien did not want to involve the police, initially said that he had fallen, he was taken to hospital where the wound was cleaned and he discharged himself against medical advice.

But police later returned him to the hospital where he underwent emergency surgery to the stab wound which involved two tears of the left jugular. The experience had left him suffering nightmares, sleepless nights, anxiety and he had lost confidence.

Burnie initially claimed that he had been defending himself but in his basis of plea said that at the time his belief was that he and his girlfriend were about to be attacked. He picked up the knife to frighten off those who came to his house, not to use it. But he accepted that the knife was used after blows were exchanged.

Robert Parry-Jones, defending, said: “We will never really know what happened.” Everyone was affected by something, whether drugs or alcohol.

Burnie did not go out looking for trouble, he did not start it, he did not go out to cause an injury. His perception was that those on the estate did not like him and did not like his girlfriend.

“She is now unfortunately deceased. She took her life. He is devastated about that,” Mr Parry-Jones said.

The defendant had made a serious attempt at his own life since the incident.

That night a group of people gathered outside his home and after what had occurred he knew it was not “for a cosy chat”.

The barrister said: “No one comes out of this with any credit at all. Burnie did not start it, he reacted, and he very much regrets the way that he did react.”

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