Family angered by knifeman's sentence

THESE are the horrific injuries inflicted on a Suffolk man when he was stabbed in the stomach in an Ipswich street.

THESE are the horrific injuries inflicted on a Suffolk man when he was stabbed in the stomach in an Ipswich street.

Today the parents of the knife victim have branded the attacker's 12-month jail term “ridiculous” and vowed to launch an appeal.

Carl Jenkins, 23, was in Ipswich town centre with friends when he was stabbed in the chest by Martin Nicholls.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that Mr Jenkins underwent major surgery and, after spending time in intensive care, he was released from Ipswich Hospital with 25 staples holding the wound together.

Mr Recorder James Wood said eight months after the attack the previously “happy go lucky” Mr Jenkins had complained of suffering flashbacks and dreams, was unable to go out, socialising or playing football and was taking anti-depressants.

The court also heard he found it impossible to trust others and could not come to terms with his scarring.

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His parents, who did not want to be named, made a joint statement after Nicholls was sent to a young offenders' institute.

They said: “The sentence is ridiculous. Originally Nicholls was charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent to do serious injury but he pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of unlawful wounding and we were told by lawyers that the sentencing would be similar. We cannot believe that this can be justice”.

Mr Jenkins' father said they had expected Nicholls to be jailed for five years and had therefore agreed that the Crown Prosecution Service should accept Nicholls' plea of guilty to causing unlawful wounding on February 20 last year rather than going to trial with the GBH charge.

Joanne Eley, prosecuting, said Mr Jenkins had been walking with friends in the road behind Tower Ramparts and Debenhams when a fight broke out between him and 19-year-old Nicholls.

Nicholls told police Mr Jenkins, who is from west Suffolk, shouted “What are you looking at?” and then punched him in the face.

Mr Jenkins said he heard Nicholls call out the name “Tom” and he had attacked Nicholls because he feared for his safety.

Ms Eley said: “Mr Jenkins saw an object that appeared to glisten in the hand of Mr Nicholls.

“Mr Nicholls then struck Mr Jenkins in the left side of his chest. He fell to the floor. When that happened Mr Jenkins did not realise he had been stabbed. When Mr Nicholls tried to run away Mr Jenkins grabbed hold of him and punched him several times.”

Nicholls, of Avondale Road, fled the scene, dropping his baseball cap and throwing the knife into a nearby rubbish bin.

Lindsay Cox, mitigating, said Nicholls had pleaded guilty last September and added he had not been jailed before.

Mr Cox said Nicholls had been attacked on the street himself in the past and carried the knife with him for protection.

Mr Wood told Nicholls: “Mr Jenkins was in fear for his personal safety and he punched you and you armed with a knife inflicted a grave injury.”

Have you been a victim of a violent crime? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.