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Posted on Thursday 16 November 2023

A man has been jailed for eight years following an unprovoked knife attack on his friend.

Gareth Swainston was living with the victim in Darlington, after finding himself homeless and seeking refuge.

The terrifying incident unfolded when the victim returned home to find that personal belongings had been smashed outside of his property.

Upon entering, he was confronted by Swainston, who dragged him inside and brandished a knife, hurling abusive threats.

The 39-year-old then proceeded to inflict cuts across the victim's face and body, accompanied by relentless punches and kicks.

The victim managed to escape the harrowing assault and promptly contacted the police, who acted swiftly to arrest Swainston.

He appeared at Teesside Crown Court on October 31, where he was sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty for wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

PC Beadnall of Darlington CID said: “This was a vicious, unprovoked attack perpetrated by Swainston, who can only be described as a dangerous individual with a propensity for serious violence. 

“Swainston has taken advantage of the victim's good nature and has repaid him by leaving him with scars, both mentally and physically, for life.

“The victim was safeguarded thanks to a swift response from officers. Darlington CID picked up the subsequent investigation, remanding Swainston into custody to ensure the ongoing safety of the victim. 

“The eight-year sentence imposed upon Swainston is a testament to the fact that the police and the criminal justice system have zero tolerance for any form of knife crime and will impose severe penalties on those brazen enough to carry out attacks such as these.”

As part of Operation Sceptre, the case serves as a stark reminder of the consequences awaiting individuals who seek to engage in violent criminal behaviour.

If you see someone carrying a knife or have concerns that someone you know carries one, please report it by contacting police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

Alternatively, you can speak to Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111.

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