Meat cleaver thug threatened to behead stranger

Picture: John Devlin

Picture: John Devlin

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A VIOLENT thug who threatened to behead a stranger with a meat cleaver was today jailed for five years and three months.

Twenty-four -year-old Liam Howard told his terrified victim: “Sit down or I will take your head off.”

Seconds later he struck the victim across the face with the weapon – leaving him scarred for life.

Vicious Howard carried out the attack just five months after being freed early from jail for attempted murder.

At the High Court in Glasgow Howard admitted assaulting his victim to his permanent disfigurement.

The attack took place at a flat in Beaverbank Place, Broughton, Edinburgh, in May last year.

It emerged Howard had been released early from a five-year sentence for attempted murder just before Christmas 2013.

He was back on the streets five months when he struck again.

Sentencing Howard judge Lord Bannatyne told him: “This wholly unprovoked assault involved the use of a weapon - a meat cleaver - which you had taken from your mother’s house to this flat.

This must have been a terrifying ordeal for the complainer.

“You have a significant level of previous offending for crimes of violence and you had only been released from prison for a short time before committing this offence. You are a t high risk of re-offending.”

Lord Bannatyne ordered Howard to be monitored in the community for four years and nine months after his release from prison.

He also said that Howard must serve the remaining 33 months of his previous sentence for attempted murder before he beginning his latest sentence.

The court heard that Howard’s victim had been at a friend’s flat in Broughton, Edinburgh last May 3 when Howard and a woman suddenly showed up.

The court heard the victim was eventually alone in the property with the pair.

The victim was sitting in a chair and when he went to get up Howard told him: “Sit the f*** down or I will take your head off.”

Howard then grabbed his terrified victim and demanded money.

Advocate depute Sheena Fraser, prosecuting, said that Howard brought out a deadly meat cleaver and struck the victim across the face.

He got hold of the victim’s iPhone and, as the injured man pleaded for it back, Howard threatened to attack him again.

Howard then fled after telling the victim: “Don’t get up...don’t try to follow.”

A friend of the victim heard what happened and dialled 999. The victim was found bleeding heavily from a wound to his cheek.

The court heard he later identified Howard as his attacker.

Miss Fraser said the victim has been left with a 10cm facial scar and is suffering from depression.

Defence counsel Ronnie Renucci said: “He accepts responsibility for his actions. He had taken a significant amount of Valium, but realises that is no excuse.”