A MAN could receive a life prison sentence after being convicted of attempted murder following a shocking Cumbrian town street stabbing which left his victim with a knife buried in his face.
Amid a “simmering argument”, in Wigton on the night of April 12 this year, Scott Topping, 39, plunged the blade into Robert Pattinson’s head on King Street outside the Throstles Nest pub.
Mr Pattinson, aged 21, was stabbed just below his left eye with a large knife. More than 12cm of the blade was left embedded in the bony structures of his face, and the tip came to rest just millimetres from his carotid artery at the base of his skull.
Mr Pattinson, who initially thought he had been punched, told a Carlisle Crown Court jury he thought Toppings’s blow was aimed at his throat. “I just saw the (knife) handle sticking out of my face. I didn’t see the knife at all before I got stabbed.”
He added of Topping: “He was looking right at me. He laughed at me. I tried to pull it (the knife) out of my face but it wouldn’t move.”
It was eventually removed with “extreme difficulty” during emergency hospital surgery.
Topping was swiftly traced by police after the stabbing and involved in an hour-long stand-off at his Mulligans Court home in the town. This was captured on an officer’s body cam footage. At one stage before his eventual arrest, Topping was told someone had earlier been injured and taken to hospital. “If he hasn’t died I don’t want to know,” Topping stated. “Has he died? I hope he’s died because if he hasn’t…unlucky.”
A pathologist asked to provide an expert opinion after viewing case evidence concluded the force of blow needed to leave a blade embedded in Mr Pattinson’s face would have been “severe”, and that “it could have easily proved lethal”.
Topping denied an attempted murder charge, but was found guilty by a jury this morning (WED) which took only half an hour to reach a unanimous verdict.
His case was adjourned for the preparation of a probation service report which will assess the danger Topping poses of causing serious future harm to the public.
The jury heard of Topping’s “chequered history” and that he had committed knife crimes previously, prosecutor Jeremy Grout-Smith revealing there were three victims – “two stabbed in the neck, one in the arm”.
Topping will be sentenced at the crown court for attempted murder, and four other crimes committed after the stabbing, on October 25, and was remanded in custody in the meantime.
“You should expect a long custodial sentence,” he was told by Judge James Adkin, who informed Topping’s barrister the punishment options “include the possibility of a discretionary life sentence”.