Criminal with 100 previous convictions leaves innocent man scarred for life after craft knife attack

An innocent man was slashed across the face with a craft knife because he had the same surname as the person his attacker was hoping to get revenge on.

The victim was walking in the Tyne Dock area of South Shields on his way to visit a friend when Connor Dodds and another man asked if he was who they were looking for.

Connor Dodds, left, and the scene of the attack in Tyne Dock.

Connor Dodds, left, and the scene of the attack in Tyne Dock.

He told them he wasn't - but Dodds and the other man said: "Well you must be some relation" before producing craft knives and stabbing the man in the side of the body.

Michael Bunch, prosecuting, told the court: "[The victim] fell to the ground and felt somebody grab his head before being slashed to his face.

"When he looked around the defendant was close to him and the other male was far away so he couldn't have been the one responsibility for the injury."

Mr Bunch told the court how the victim suffered a 11cm cut from his right ear to his chin which has left a permanent scar. He also suffered a cut to his right hand after raising it to protect himself.

Dodds was dealt with at Newcastle Crown Court.

Dodds was dealt with at Newcastle Crown Court.

The court also heard that the victim believed he did not suffer more serious injury to his body as he was wearing a thick body warmer at the time of the attack.

In his victim impact statement, read to the court by the prosecutor, the man said the assault on him was "unprovoked".

He said the injury that he suffered to his face will cause a scar for the rest of his life. He believed that if it had been further down his neck he would have been dead.

The victim also added that he had rang his mother following the attack as he thought he was dying and wanted to speak to her.

Dodds, of Northcote Street, South Shields, admitted wounding with intent and possession of a offensive weapon at a previous hearing.

The court heard how Dodds has 100 previous convictions - including six for violence in the last 10 years.

Mr Bunch said one of his previous convictions was a robbery in 2013, which involved him using a knife.

Christopher Knox, mitigating, told the court how Dodds, 25, has been suffering pain after losing an eye due to medical reasons.

Mr Knox said: "This defendant is known to my instructing solicitor and he has concerns about him.

"This is a young man who has clearly had drink and drugs problems. Fortunately this wasn't more serious than it might have been."

Judge Edward Bindloss told Dodds: "On Saturday, August 4 [the victim], at seven o'clock in the evening, on a summer's evening, was walking to see a friend.

"You mistake him for somebody else with whom you showed malice. You thought he was the person to target.

"You set upon this man, attacking him to the side is his body. He fell to the ground then you slashed him to the face.

"You had alcohol and cocaine in your system. There was no evidence [the victim] was the right man.

"This could, in other circumstances, have been fatal."

Judge Bindloss handed him a total sentence of 14 years and eight months. He imposed an extended sentence to protect members of the public from Dodds, the court heard.

Dodds will serve nine years and eight months in custody, and an extended licence period of five years.

Detective Sergeant Gaye Martin, of Northumbria Police, added “This was an unacceptable and malicious attack on an unassuming member of the public who was out walking alone.

“Connor Dodds pulled out a knife and caused serious injuries to the victim, who had an 11cm wound to the side of his face.

"He has inevitably had to live with the physical and psychological consequences of that night ever since.

“There can be little doubt that the streets are safer with Dodds behind bars, and he must now live with the consequences of his actions.

“I would like to thank the victim for his cooperation throughout this case, and hope this sentence can provide some sort of closure which allows him to get on with the rest of his life.”