A man has been jailed for seven years for stabbing another man in an attack in the street in Brighton.
Brian Hamilton, 53, denied malicious wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH) and having a bladed weapon in a public place.
He was convicted by a jury on both counts in February after a six-day trial at Lewes Crown Court presided over by Judge Christine Laing, the honorary recorder of Brighton and Hove.
On Friday (1 July), Judge Laing jailed Hamilton at Lewes, ordering him to serve at least two thirds of his sentence in custody before he can be considered for parole.
Julian Winship, prosecuting, read a statement from the victim, Dean Thomas, 32, of Bramble Way, Stanmer Heights, Hollingbury, in September 2020.
Mr Thomas said that he had suffered a lot of pain since the stabbing, in Crowhurst Road, Hollingbury, and that one of his scars still hurt to touch.
He said: “I can’t turn my head fully to the left. I’ve got scar tissue sticking out of my head.”
Since the attack, Mr Thomas said that he had suffered from depression and had medication for sleep problems, panic attacks and pain relief.
He needed help to go to the toilet for some time after the attack, he added, and had become fearful and worried about his safety.
Mr Winship said that Hamilton, also known as Paul Dunn, had many convictions for many offences dating back to his early teens in 1983.
Four of the offences were for wounding and one for having a firearm – a CS gas cannister – although most of those were some years ago.
Hugh Forgan, defending, said: “Mr Hamilton is a man who has had difficulties all his life. Some are of his own making and some are of other people’s making.”
His troubles were compounded by serial drug use, Mr Forgan said, and a serious assault in 2011 that fractured his skull in three places.
He suffered brain damage that changed his character and later ended up in a coma after being found in a canal. As a result of the damage to his brain, Mr Forgan said: “The way he reacts to events can be chaotic.”
Mr Forgan added: “He travelled to Brighton to try to find his brother although, unknown to him, his brother was in Lewes Prison. His brother is now subject to a hospital order.
“His mother is very elderly and also in a hospital … but is deaf so he is unable to talk to her.
“He is a man who has many crosses to bear.”
Hamilton had been staying in Brighton with a friend, Simon Moss, and had fallen out with Mr Thomas but the pair appeared to have made up.
Judge Laing told Hamilton: “The day before the stabbing you had been making a nuisance of yourself (but) I reject your account that he (Mr Thomas) used a knife on you.”
After an apparent reconciliation, “he went to a cash machine and you said you needed some cash too.”
The pair appeared to be holding each other up but, the judge said: “You stabbed him three times in quick succession in the back of his head, his neck and his shoulder.
“You ran off. It was not until a year later that you were apprehended.
“You have a very poor record … You continue to deny this matter. You have taken little or no responsibility for many aspects of your offending.
“I do note that … you suffered a serious head injury and that this continues to affect you. But you do not accept help when it is offered to you by the authorities.
“This offence was to do with loss of face or something to do with drugs. This offence does represent a significant escalation of your offending.”
Hamilton was jailed for seven years for wounding and to a year to be served concurrently for having a bladed weapon, making seven years in total.
He had been charged with having a small amount of drugs but the prosecution offered no evidence and a formal not guilty verdict was recorded.
Sussex Police said previously: “An off-duty police officer was approached by a man in Crowhurst Road at around 7.40pm on Wednesday 23 September 2020.”
The man said that he had been stabbed near by and the force said: “He was treated at the scene by paramedics for three stab wounds and named the suspect as a man named Brian.”
Mr Thomas told police that he had met Hamilton recently and had been walking with him just before the attack occurred.
Sussex Police said: “He reported having been struck from behind, unprovoked, before the suspect made off.
“Inquiries identified the suspect as Brian Hamilton, now 53, of Bolton Close, in Darlington, who had been staying near by and was seen by witnesses with the victim around the time of the incident.
“He was also seen to be in possession of a knife.
“Hamilton was arrested and subsequently charged with wounding with intent and possession of a bladed article in a public place.”
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