Row over trainers led to frenzied stabbing in Braes home

A violent thug inflicted life-threatening injuries on a friend in a row over a pair of trainers, a court heard.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 19th August 2019, 7:06 pm

Joseph Teven armed himself with a kitchen knife before going up to his pal Stephen Hunter’s bedroom and repeatedly stabbing and slashing him with the weapon.

Father-of-two Teven (33) was out of his face on drink and drugs at the time of the blade bloodbath in Mr Hunter’s home in Standburn, the High Court at Livingston was told.

The self employed painter and decorator had downed two bottles of Buckfast tonic wine and ‘Dragon Soup’ alcopops as well as ten Diazepam – an anti anxiety drug also known as Valium – tablets and five Gabapentin, or ‘Gabbies’, an anti epileptic drug.

Teven, who had denied attempting to murder Mr Hunter on December 18 last year, pled guilty on the morning of his trial today to assault to severe injury and danger of life.

Advocate Depute Neil Bowie said Mr Hunter (31) and his girlfriend Hannah MacDonald (28) had earlier gone to bed about an hour after Teven arrived at the house with tell-tale blue film around his mouth indicating he had taken Diazepam.

He said: “The complainer and Miss MacDonald were in bed together in a state of partial undress. The accused repeatedly came up the stairs, entered the bedroom, turning on the light and sitting on the bed before leaving the room and leaving the lights on.

“This irrational behaviour was starting to annoy the complainer Mr Hunter. After midnight Mr Hunter went downstairs to remonstrate with the accused about his behaviour.

“He saw the accused wearing his work boots and was annoyed at this as he believed the accused was trying to steal his boots.”

He said the two men had scuffled with each other and rolled around the living room wrestling but no-one was hurt and Mr Hunter went back to bed.

He said Mr Hunter’s flatmate Marc Johnstone (22) then heard the accused rummaging about in the kitchen.

Mr Bowie went on: “He (the accused) then went back upstairs and into the bedroom, put the light on and attacked the complainer Mr Hunter, who was lying in bed.

“The accused was on top of the complainer and Miss MacDonald, who was also in the bed, was aware of Mr Hunter screaming and blood starting to spurt across the room. The complainer was heard shouting that he’d been stabbed.

“When the assault came to an end the blade of a kitchen knife without its handle was seen covered in blood on the floor next to the bed.

“It had not been there prior to the attack. There was a significant amount of blood in the room.”

He said the accused immediately exited the house.

Mr Johnstone, meanwhile, tied a sock around Mr Hunter’s upper arm to stem bleeding from a deep wound and summoned the emergency services. He identified the blade as being from one of his kitchen knives, which had a black and red handle.

A police dog handler later tracked the accused to woods outside the village. He had the black and red handle of the kitchen knife – missing its blade – in his jacket pocket.

When police told Teven about Mr Hunter’s injuries he became upset, said they were good friends and claimed it wouldn’t have been “unprovoked”.

Mr Hunter’s blood was found on the sleeve of the accused’s tracksuit and on the blade on the broken knife.

The victim’s injuries included stab wounds to his back, which resulted in blood in his chest putting pressure on his lungs, one which slashed his kidney, another which pierced his bowel and a 7cm cut to his right arm which cut through muscles.

Lorenzo Alonzi, defending, said Teven’s recollection of events were “very sketchy” given the amount of drink and drugs he had consumed.

He claimed the accused’s irrational behaviour had been due to the fact that his trainers had gone missing, which also explained why he had put on Mr Hunter’s boots.

He stressed that Teven was full of remorse for what he had done to his friend.

He added: “There was clearly a misunderstanding that included a disagreement and scuffle which spiralled out of all proportions. He’s at a complete loss to understand how it could have escalated like that.”

He said the accused and Mr Hunter had since settled their differences and their friendship continued.

Judge Lady Carmichael sentenced Teven to five years and five months in prison, backdated to last December when he was remanded in custody.

She told him: “It’s a matter of chance rather than anything else that the attack didn’t prove to have more serious consequences. He had to have emergency surgery for wounds that were life threatening.”