An attacker who slashed his former friend’s face with a blade, and left him permanently disfigured for calling him a paedophile during a row, has been jailed for five years.
Kevin Johnson, 51, was left with a gaping wound running from his forehead to jaw and another injury to his brow, in the bloody attack in August.
Newcastle Crown Court heard in the weeks leading up to the violent confrontation, Mr Johnson had called 53-year-old Terry Sprott a “nonce” and a “paedo” during a public row. Violence flared when the men, who had known each other more than 30 years, bumped into each other at a soul music event.
Sprott, who has not been accused or convicted of sexual offences, went outside to collect a craft knife from his car.
The court heard Sprott used the weapon, which was marked with the warning “extremely sharp blade” to inflict the injuries before walking away “as cool as a cucumber”.
Sprott, of Beach Road, South Shields, admitted wounding with intent.
Judge James Goss, QC, sentenced him to five years behind bars.
The judge said: “You slashed him twice, down the side of his face, causing cuts from the forehead to jaw, which will permanently disfigure him.
“Fortunately for him, and for you, no underlying structures were damaged by the wounds you caused.
“There were provocative comments that had been uttered on an earlier occasion in public which, I accept, caused you to feel humiliated by his behaviour. I entirely accept that is the case.”
The court heard the violent clash happened during a chance meeting at the Federation Brewery, in Dunston, Gateshead, which Sprott did not know Mr Johnson would be attending.
Neil Pallister, prosecuting, told the court: “Three weeks before, at a similar music event, Mr Johnson and the defendant had got into an argument.
“Mr Johnson said the defendant had made a pass at the wife or partner of a friend.
“Mr Johnson called him a nonce and other strong words.”
The court heard Mr Johnson, who was at the event with his wife, initially thought he had been punched before blood started pouring from his wounds.
Katherine Dunn, defending, said the initial row in the weeks before the slashing had a massive impact on Sprott, who has health problems including diabetes, arthritis, obesity and had an unsuccessful gastric by-pass operation.
Miss Dunn said: “He felt he could not cope with being called a paedophile or nonce in such a public place.
“There is no excuse for his behaviour and there is a degree of remorse.”