'We live in a society in constant fear of people carrying knives,' a judge told a Sheffield teenager as he jailed him for 16-years for stabbing three men in an 'explosion of violence'.
Two of the three men stabbed by 18-year-old defendant, Lamar Waite, in the shocking attack were left with life-threatening injuries, Sheffield Crown Court heard today.
Waite, formerly of Denholme Close, Burngreave slashed the three Polish men after he and his co-accused, Osman Adan, became involved in a brawl on Division Street with the victims and their friends just before 5.50am on September 30 last year.
Paul O’Shea, prosecuting, told the court: “The knife that caused the stab wounds didn’t require that much force to inflict the intended injuries, and yet substantial force was used.”
One of the men stabbed by Waite received such serious injuries that when ambulance staff arrived on the scene they could see parts of his intestine protruding from his stomach, and he was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery.
In a victim impact statement read out in court, the man said: “I was convinced I was going to die. If the ambulance had arrived a few moments later I probably would have died. I spent 20 days in hospital, and the first few days after the operation I was in excruciating pain.”
The second man Waite inflicted life-threatening injuries on was stabbed in his chest, left upper-bicep and left buttock.
“I have been left very distressed by what happened,” Waite’s second victim told the court.
The third man was stabbed in the head and arms, the court heard.
While Adan, 20, of Neville Close, Burngreave was involved in the violence, the court heard how his involvement was limited to punching members of the victim’s group and to using a glass bottle.
Following the incident, the two defendants swapped jackets in a bid to conceal their identities and disposed of the knife, which has never been recovered.
At a hearing held earlier this week Waite pleaded guilty to three counts of wounding with intent, while Adan admitted to one count of affray.
Defending Waite, John Caudle, asked Judge Peter Kelson QC to take his young age and his guilty plea into consideration when imposing his sentence.
Guz Nawaz Hussain, defending Adan, said in mitigation that Adan had initially acted as the 'peacemaker' between Waite and the group of Polish men, but had become involved with the brawl after violence broke out.
Both defence barristers stressed that the incident took place after a member of group of men the three victims belonged to threw a punch.
Judge Kelson, who described the incident as an ‘explosion of violence’ sentenced Waite to 12-years in prison, with an extended license period of four years, and sentenced Adan to 12-months in a young offenders’ institute.
As Judge Kelson jailed the two, he told them he believed ‘deterrent sentences’ were needed to reassure members of the public.
He said: “We live in a society that is totally aware of the dangers caused by knives. And we live in a society that lives in constant fear of people who are carrying knives. In my view deterrent sentences are needed with this sort of crime involving the application of extremely serious crimes committed with intent.”
He added: “If the courts can do simple things to make societies feel safer that’s what we should be doing.”
Despite his young age, the court was told how Waite, 18, has an extensive criminal record that includes offences of robbery and attempted robbery, during which Waite used knives and scissors as weapons, as well as offences of assaulting a police officer and battery.
Judge Kelson said that the various violent offences committed by Waite led him to believe he posed a ‘significant’ risk of danger to the public, and added a four-year extended license period to his 12-year custodial sentence.
He told him: “I am satisfied that you are, even in the eyes of the law, a dangerous young man.”
Judge Kelson told Adan that while he accepted he played a far smaller role in the violent brawl, that he considered the fact Adan knew Waite was in possession of a knife when the ‘explosion of violence’ got underway to be an aggravating factor.