Leamington man jailed for using knife to stab victim in face

A Leamington man who stabbed another man to the face after being punched during an argument in the street has been jailed.

Joel Watts pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to wounding Clifford Garnett with intent to cause him serious injury during the incident in Packington Place, Leamington.

Joel Watts

Joel Watts

Watts, 38, of Kenilworth Road, who also admitted having a bladed article in a public place, was jailed for five years and eight months.

Prosecutor Ian Speed said that at lunchtime on March 2, Mr Garnett went to see his father, also called Clifford, in a local pub to ask to borrow money.

His father was concerned about that, because his son had suffered with drug addiction in the past, but gave him £20.

After then leaving the pub, Mr Garnett bumped into Watts and a man called Andre in nearby Packington Place, and Andre claimed he owed him £25, which Mr Garnett denied.

Watts then asked him who was on, which Mr Garnett took to be a reference to a drug dealer, and when he said he didn’t know, Watts asked to borrow his phone, but he said he did not have one.

“At this time the complainant noticed that Mr Watts had a knife in his possession, and he instinctively threw a punch which connected.

“A scuffle then followed, and during the scuffle Mr Garnett was stabbed with the knife which caused a 6cm superficial wound to his face.”

Mr Speed said that while the fight was taking place, Mr Garnett’s father, left the pub to check on his son and came across the fracas.

Mr Garnett Snr told Watts to put the knife down and, when he did not comply, headbutted him to the face, causing him to drop it before making off.

Mr Garnett Jr was taken to hospital where the wound to his face was treated with steri-strips.

Mr Speed added that Watts had a number of previous convictions for offences which included assault, affray and public disorder.

Michael Anning, defending, said: “Joel Watts knows he faces a custodial sentence today. I acknowledge, as does he, that this is a serious offence.”

But arguing that the sentence ‘can be reduced from what offences of this type can attract,’ he handed in a photograph showing the injury Mr Garnett’s punch had caused to his eye.

And he pointed out: “This was not a targeted attack, it was a chance meeting between people who knew each-other, and the reason they knew each-other was because they both had experience of taking drugs.

“He was punched first, but he responded and the two men had a fight. I accept the injuries to the complainant were caused with a knife. That’s the difference between the two of them.

“There was no serious harm, although for a matter of seconds there was the intent.”

Jailing Watts, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano told him: “On March 2 you got into an argument with Clifford Garnett.

“The really big mistake you made was to have a knife in your hand. When he saw it he punched you, and there was a scuffle during which he was stabbed in his face.

“Very, very fortunately for him, and for you, the laceration was a superficial one.

“But if you carry a knife, and whatever your intention, you take the risk that injuries will be caused.”