A Crown Court judge has issued a stark reminder of the potential consequences of carrying knives as he jailed a man over a stabbing in the Co Antrim village of Glenarm.
Brendan Mulvenna, 23, from Altmore Walk in Glenarm, was handed a 12-month sentence by Judge Stephen Fowler QC for attacking a man with a knife last October.
The injured man sustained a wound to his lower chest area, and while the injury was described as “superficial” in court, the victim was left suffering from a “trauma and stress-related disorder” as a result of the incident.
Judge Fowler said: “All too often these types of incidents end up with somebody in the morgue.”
Antrim Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, heard Mulvenna armed himself with a knife after he had assaulted the injured man’s younger brother prior to the stabbing, and was carrying the weapon for protection as he knew he was being sought.
Crown prosecutor Amanda Brady said the knife attack occurred on Glenarm’s Straidkilly Road on the afternoon of October 5 last year.
The injured party had been driving his car with two passengers on board when he spotted Mulvenna walking along the road.
He stopped his car and shouted to Mulvenna “did you hit a wee lad in here a few weeks ago?”, to which Mulvenna answered “aye I did. I thought it was someone else. I’m sorry mate”.
When the driver then revealed to Mulvenna that it was his younger brother whom he had assaulted, Mulvenna “stepped back from the window of the car and pulled a knife from his jacket pocket. He then lunged in the driver’s window and made several attempts to stab the driver”.
The victim took his seatbelt off to evade the knife attack and lay across his front-seat passenger “to try and avoid the attack with the knife” and was able to drive off. However, he sustained a wound to the right-hand side of his chest.
Ms Brady revealed that Mulvenna also approached the car a second time as it stopped, and tapped the window with the same knife he had just used to stab the driver.
The injured man made his way home where an ambulance was called and he was treated in his house for a superficial wound.
Mulvenna was subsequently arrested, and during a police interview, he made the case that he had been carrying a knife because he knew the injured party was looking for him following the previous assault on his younger brother.
He also made the case that he only struck out once with the knife, and said he felt he was going to be attacked by all three occupants of the car.
Mulvenna, who came before the court with a clear record, pleaded guilty to possessing the knife in a public place, and of assaulting the injured party, causing him actual bodily harm.
Defence barrister Paul Bacon reiterated Mulvenna’s claim that he was carrying the knife for protection as he felt “threatened”.
Mr Bacon also said that a second vehicle pulled up behind the injured man’s car, prompting Mulvenna to believe at the time that he was going to be attacked by the occupants of that vehicle too.
Saying he was “thankful” that the injured party’s wound was not worse than it was, Mr Bacon said his client acknowledged that “going around with a knife is unacceptable”.
He also described Mulvenna as a “vulnerable young man” with learning difficulties.
Jailing Mulvenna for 12 months – half of which will be spent in custody with the remaining six months spent on licence upon his release – Judge Fowler said: “This was a persistent attack which involved a knife, with the intention of doing more harm than was actually inflicted.”