A man who stabbed a chemist during an attempted robbery to get drugs to feed his addiction was handed a 12-year sentence yesterday.
At Belfast Crown Court, Patrick Campbell (28), of no fixed abode, was told he would serve six years in custody followed by six years on supervised licence.
Judge Geoffrey Miller QC told Campbell that he would have to live at approved Probation Service accommodation and would also have to be “electronically tagged” for a period.
Campbell pleaded guilty to robbery, two counts of attempted of attempted robbery, possession of a knife, wounding intent to cause grievous bodily harm and assault on police.
Prosecution lawyer David Russell told the court that at 9am on April 6, 2017 Campbell entered McDonagh’s pharmacy on the Falls Road armed with a knife. He lunged at Peter Wright, stabbing him in the upper left side of his chest, close to his heart.
Another member of staff was cut to his right hand as he tried to defend himself and sustained further wounds to his arm and groin.
Defence QC Richard Green told the court that Campbell had been abusing drugs since the age of 14 and had a history of mental health illness.
Judge Miller accepted an assessment by the Probation Service who concluded that Campbell did not pose a danger to the public in the future.
He said the victim impact statements on the pharmacy staff showed “the impact upon them both physically and mentally”.
“I note that the defendant expresses shame for his actions and the physical and psychological harm occasioned to the various victims.
“He acknowledges that he could as easily have caused a fatality, something that is only too evident given that the primary injury to Mr Wright involved a wound in the vicinity of the heart.”
As well as receiving 12 years for attempted robbery of the pharmacy, Campbell was handed concurrent sentences totalling 32 years.