An armed Widnes man slashed his ex-girlfriend’s new partner with a knife twice after he “lay in wait” for him to arrive at Hough Green railway station.
Connor Wright, 25, of Avondale Drive, Widnes, confronted Liverpool man Lee Draboczi as he approached the station on foot on July 12.
Michael Stephenson, prosecuting at Liverpool Crown Court today, told how Mr Draboczi had gone to visit his young daughter who lived with her mother – Mr Wright’s partner – before the incident .
Mr Stephenson said Mr Draboczi had dropped off some toys and had not been “particularly welcome”, and he then set off on the 15-minute walk to Hough Green station.
As he approached the station, he saw a figure on a bicycle “wearing a dark face cover over his nose, a dark jacket, one glove for some reason” and “his right hand in his jacket pocket”.
Realising it was Wright and fearing he was armed, Mr Draboczi “went on the offensive”.
Mr Stephenson said: “He advanced on him, he took hold of him, he was aware that as he pulled him off his bike and they were facing each other, he was producing something.
“He managed to get Mr Wright into a headlock and pulled him towards the ground.”
Wright then swung the knife at him twice, causing two “minor cuts” to his side.
Wright dropped the knife and his victim called for bystanders to remove the blade to prevent it being used again, but they didn’t.
Having lost the knife and broken free of the headlock, Wright “ran off”, leaving his phone and jacket at the scene.
He then ran to the Morrisons shop on Liverpool Road and claimed he had been attacked with a knife, which Mr Stephenson characterised as “getting his version in first”.
Wright was “very vague” in interview with officers from Cheshire police and said the knife was “just there”.
Officers later found two similar knives from the same set at his home.
He later pleaded guilty to assault occasioning bodily harm (ABH) and possessing a knife on August 10.
Mr Stephenson said Mr Droboczi gave a “very short” victim personal statement in which he said: “Future visits to his daughter are going to be fraught with a degree of uncertainty about whether he’s going to be attacked or not.”
The knifeman had no previous convictions.
Jeremy Rawson, defending Wright, pleaded mitigation for his client’s guilty pleas, his previous good character, and suggested that any custodial sentence could be suspended.
He said Wright said his partner had rung him in “some state of distress” on the day of the incident and that due to this he “wanted to have it out with Mr Draboczi”, adding that Wright now “regrets doing so – he regrets what took place”.
Judge David Aubrey, QC, presiding, rejected the call for a suspended sentence and handed Wright 12 months in prison, immediate custody.
He said he took into account the mitigating features and the “Manning” principle, which is a legal precedent to consider the harsher conditions in prison due to the coronavirus pandemic as added punishment.
Sentencing Wright, who appeared by videolink, Judge Aubrey said: “On the relevant day, you were full of anger.
“You had a knife.
“You had taken it out with you and you lay in wait for your victim and when you saw your victim, you sought to produce that knife from your pocket.
“It was evident to your victim you were intending to use that knife and you could have caused untold harm to him if not a fatality.
“Fortunately, there was – and I say fortunately – there was a struggle because your victim perceived that which you were about to do and during the course of that struggle, he suffered comparatively minor injuries.”
He added: “The message must go out that those that take knives out onto the public highway, who use knives upon other persons, will lose their liberty.”