Neighbour’s throat slashed in row over noise at flats in Leeds

Gang jailed after conning elderly people
Gang jailed after conning elderly people

A former soldier slashed his neighbour’s throat with a knife during a dispute about noise in the block of flats where they lived, a court heard.

A court heard the victim suffered a wound to the front of his neck after being told by attack Michael O’Brien: “Don’t carry on or I will stick you.”

Leeds Crown Court heard O’Brien, 57, and the victim, aged in his 60s, had lived in the same block for a number of years and had previously got on fine.

The attack happened at the flats on Parkfield Mount, Beeston, Leeds, on August 23 last year after the victim had been out for a drink at his local club and returned home around 10.30pm.

Kate Bisset, prosecuting, said the victim had trouble getting to sleep because of the noise coming from O’Brien’s flat.

The prosecutor said the victim could hear music, talking and a dog barking. The victim then got out of bed and went out into the hallway of the flat shouted: “Turn it down I’m trying to get some sleep.”

O’Brien came out and replied: “It’s only early.”

He then pulled out a knife from the back of his trousers and shouted the threat.

Miss Bisset said: “The defendant took hold of the complainant by the neck with the knife still in his hand. He tried to push the defendant away and felt blood on his neck. The defendant then went downstairs.”

The victim did not realise he had been seriously injured until another neighbour noticed the wound.

O’Brien called for an ambulance and said he had caused the injury by accident and he had been “messing around”.

O’Brien was arrested and told police he had been using the knife to fix his dog’s lead when the victim made the complaint about the noise.

He admitted having the weapon in his hand when he went to grab his neighbour but had not deliberately used it to inflict injury.

He pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding on the basis that his actions were reckless.

The victim needed stitches to the two inch “full thickness” wound to his neck as the knife penetrated soft tissue but did not damage any veins or arteries.

The court heard O’Brien had served in the army before becoming a software engineer but was now on benefits.

A probation officer told the court O’Brien had been suffering from depression at the time of the incident following the death of his daughter in 2013.

He had also been drinking heavily before the attack.

Stephen Welford, mitigating, said O’Brien was sorry for what he had done and tried to help when he realised his neighbour was injured.

O’Brien was given an 18 month sentence, suspended for two years, and was made the subject of a four-month electronically monitored curfew.

Judge Jonathan Durham Hall said: “You knew you were wrong to do this. Whether you were angry, under the influence or distressed, it doesn’t matter.

“A few millimetres either way and you have got a body, not a badly injured person.”

Karly Strawson and four-year-old Myles Smith, from Pontefract, strike a pose. Picture: James Hardisty

Christmas Coca Cola truck visits Leeds’ White Rose Shopping Centre