Leeds thug ‘tried to cut my head off’

Gareth Smith
Gareth Smith
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A violent thug who sliced a ten-inch gash across the neck of a rival at a New Year’s Eve party has been jailed for eight years.

Victim Benjamin Carter thought he was about to die from his horrific injuries as he told a friend who came to his aid that Gareth Smith had “tried to cut his head off” with a stanley knife.

Mr Carter’s artery and tendons were left exposed and came close to being severed in the attack at the party in Beeston, Leeds.

Leeds Crown Court head Smith, 24, carried out the attack while he was wanted by police for two other mindless acts of violence.

Two months earlier he attacked a woman and her boyfriend in the car park of the White Hart pub, Beeston.

Victim Nicola Ford required a metal plate fitted to her face after suffering a broken jaw when Smith knocked her unconscious with repeated blows.

Her partner, Christopher Skellorn, was also knocked out after he challenged Smith and tried to protect his girlfriend.

Smith, of Bude Road, Beeston, pleaded guilty to wounding with intent, inflicting grievous bodily harm and common assault.

Describing the slash attack, prosecutor Gerogina Coade said Smith became aggressive towards some girls at the party and Mr Carter challenged him as he feared for their safety.

The two men went outside and Mr Carter told Smith to put down the weapon when he saw him with it. Mr Carter ran away when Smith approached him but moments later realised he had been cut.

The victim then ran to a friend’s house for help. Miss Coade said: “Mr Carter was struggling to speak and to breath. He said Gaz had tried to cut his...head off.”

She added: “The friend had a panic attack when he saw his friend. He could see the artery pulsing inside the wound. He thought he was going to die.”

Miss Coade said the victim had been left scarred for life from the attack. The court heard Smith has a previous conviction for burglary.

Charles Blatchford, mitigating, said Smith was sorry of the offences and ashamed of the problems it had caused for his family and young child.

Jailing Smith, Recorder Paul Isaacs said: “I saw you whilst these matters were being read out to me with your head in your hands - and so you should have been - because you know that you behaviour on these two occasions was beyond the pale.”