A COCAINE-fuelled Alston man who repeatedly stabbed a father in the street amid a simmering row over an unpaid £40 debt has been locked up for nine years.

Saul Shepherd, 20, lent Jonathan Nelson cash several weeks before an initial late night incident at the town home of the latter on August 27.

Mr Nelson heard door knocking, on and off for around 90 minutes, before seeing Shepherd climbing in through a window. As Mr Nelson kicked out and grabbed a knife to protect himself from two males, he saw Shepherd had a machete in his hand.

During a recorded call to police, Shepherd was heard making threats to “take his head off”. He and the other male spent several minutes smashing window but fled before police arrived. Shepherd was later arrested and bailed.

But more serious violence erupted on the night of September 11 outside Alston’s Victoria Inn. After leaving the pub, Mr Nelson was stabbed.

“He has little recollection of what happened,” said prosecutor Tim Evans. “He recalls leaving the pub, holding his side in pain, going to the ground and at that point saw the defendant close to him and panicking as if unaware of what to do or where to go.

“His next recollection was of waking up in hospital eight days later, in intensive care, with a nurse telling him he had been stabbed numerous times.”

A witness saw the pair arguing in the street before Shepherd lunged aggressively at Mr Nelson, striking him in the torso.

Mr Nelson spent five weeks in hospital receiving treatment for serious injuries to his badly damaged bowel. He underwent three operations.

In an impact statement, Mr Nelson said the attack left him in “excruciating pain”, “traumatised” and suffering from flashbacks.

“This is going to take me a very long time to get over the physical injuries of what has happened to me, and my body may never be the same again,” he stated.

“I don’t think I will ever get over the mental and emotional effect this has had on me and the fact I was very close to death and the impact this has had on my children will be with me forever.”

Ground worker Shepherd, of Lambsgate Farm, Alston, ran out of town after the stabbing, hid and and disposed of the knife and clothing in a river. “Yeah I stabbed him twice. I was on coke,” he told police.

He admitted aggravated burglary, wounding with intent and illegally having two bladed articles.

Matthew Purves, defending, said: “He indicates, through me, that he takes full responsibility for the offences. The actions, he says, do not adequately reflect the sort of person that he really is.”

Jailing Shepherd, Judge Simon Medland QC told Shepherd: “To use his (Mr Nelson’s) phrase: ‘I could so easily have died’.

“All of that was done by you because you were angry and frothing with violence in your mind, brought about by your consumption of drugs.

“The message must be understood, if it is not already, that class A drugs destroy people’s lives and now they have destroyed yours because you are in prison and you are going to stay there for a long time.”