A MAN who tried to slash his former friend with a Stanley knife in the beer garden of a Stafford pub was spared immediate custody.
Andrew Bird launched the assault on Geoffrey Glover five years after the two men fell out in the wake of the defendant suffering serious facial injuries and the victim standing trial and being acquitted, Stafford crown court heard.
On 25 May this year Bird, who had taken a cocktail of 27 sleeping tablets and two litres of cider, went to the West Way pub, where Mr Glover was sitting drinking with friends in the beer garden.
Pat Sullivan, prosecuting, said Mr Glover felt what he thought was a finger running down his back. It was in fact Bird, armed with a Stanley knife, who had slashed his clothing.
Mr Glover instinctively pushed himself back on to the ground and as Bird tried to slash him, kicked out to protect himself. His friends then grabbed hold of Bird and wrenched the knife from his grasp and held him until police arrived.
Bird, aged 43, of Milton Grove, Stafford admitted charges of attempting to inflict grievous bodily harm with intent and possessing an offensive weapon. He was given a 12 months sentence suspended for two years and banned from contacting Mr Glover or going to the West Way pub for three years.
Judge Trevor Jones told him: "The two of you seem to have been initially firm friends, you fell out five years ago. "It resulted in Mr Glover facing a serious allegation and he was acquitted," he said. "You had been severely injured in a cosmetic sense, by knife injuries. Fifty stitches were required to you as a result of that incident.
"Clearly out of some pent up frustration and anger, you ran the knife down his back, his friends overpowered you and you ended up with some injuries to your face once more."
Mr Sullivan said Bird told police about the cocktail of sleeping tablets and cider. He said he had left his house feeling suicidal and couldn't remember what he had done. When shown cctv footage of what happened, Bird felt ashamed.
Mr Glover suffered no physical injury apart from some grazing. The knife had slashed his clothing, but not his skin.
Stephen Bailey, defending, said: "He has taken steps to sort himself out and he has resumed contact with his son."