A MAN who stabbed an English karate champion repeatedly in the legs in a “frenzied and cowardly” attack which left him disabled has been locked up for ten years.

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Lee Robinson, 35, needed a blood transfusion and suffered life-threatening injuries in the vicious attack in an Ipswich street in July which was witnessed by his horrified wife, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Mr Robinson was stabbed five times in the back of his thighs by 21-year-old Patrick Smith.

Mr Robinson collapsed in Gibbons Street and efforts were made to stem the bleeding with towels until two police officers arrived at the scene and applied a tourniquet.

The victim, who was the English karate champion for six years and a British and European bronze medallist, was taken to hospital and underwent a blood transfusion and seven hours of microsurgery to repair nerve damage.

Since being released from hospital he has undergone extensive rehabilitation and has been left with weakness in his legs and impairment in his walking which could be permanent.

Smith, of Thackeray Road, Ipswich, admitted wounding Mr Robinson with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm and was jailed for ten years.

Sentencing him, Judge Peter Fenn described the attack as “frenzied and cowardly” and paid tribute to Mr Robinson’s “fortitude and courage” in fighting his terrible injuries.

He said Mr Robinson’s doctor had said it was only because of his high level of fitness and determination to beat his injuries that his recovery had been as successful as it had been so far.

A second defendant Tyren Brooks, 22, of Elliott Street, Ipswich, admitted common assault on Mr Robinson prior to the stabbing by Smith and last week was given a conditional discharge for 12 months.

Michael Crimp, prosecuting, said Mrs Robinson’s uncle had become friendly with Brooks’ mother and on July 3 Mr and Mrs Robinson had gone to see Brooks to raise some issues they had.

Later in the day Brooks had gone to Mrs Robinson’s uncle’s home while Mr Robinson was there and this had resulted in an exchange of blows between Brooks and Mr Robinson in the street. Brooks was heard shouting to Smith to get a knife. Smith arrived on the scene on his bike and pulled out a knife.

Witnesses saw him “jabbing and thrusting” at Mr Robinson with the weapon and when Mrs Robinson tried to pull him away he swung round with the knife causing her to fall back on to a car bonnet.

After Mr Robinson collapsed on the ground Smith ran off and Brooks cycled off on Smith’s bike.

Smith was arrested by armed police at a property in Clifton Street, Norwich.

The court heard that Smith has 20 previous convictions for 33 offences, including robbery, drug offences, dangerous driving and assaulting police.

Neil Saunders, for Smith, said Brooks was already fighting with Mr Robinson when his client arrived on the scene and he had got involved to help his friend. He said Smith had not intended Mr Robinson to be as seriously injured.

The court heard that Mr Robinson, who married his wife last year, had booked their “dream honeymoon” in Cuba the week before the stabbing and the couple had been due to fly out next week. Because of Mr Robinson’s injuries they had been advised to postponed the trip.

Speaking after Friday’s sentencing Mr Robinson said he would like Smith to serve the full ten years in prison.

He said he had been unable to work since the attack as an operations manager but was hoping to return to work next year.

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