Hartlepool career criminal stabbed victim twice over failed £10 drugs debt

He appeared at Teesside Crown Court.
He appeared at Teesside Crown Court.

A career criminal who stabbed a man over a £10 drugs debt has been jailed for more than six years.

Darren Watson was branded a ‘liability to society who has never done a day’s work’ by a judge at Teesside Crown Court.

The judge in the case told Watson he waslucky not to be facing a murder charge and added that: “This stabbing offence was an horrendous one.”

Watson was living in the Scott Grange Hostel in Grange Road, Hartlepool, when he gave another man £10 to get some cannabis, the court heard.

“The victim in the case left the hostel with the money,” said Harry Hadfield, prosecuting. “He returned without the money and without any drugs, telling the security guard not to tell Watson he was back.

“There was a confrontation on a stairwell during which it’s accepted the victim struck out at Watson.

“He came back with one gloved hand and one ungloved hand, and lunged at the victim four or five times.

“One hand held a knife, which caused two stab wounds, one to the abdomen and one to the forearm.”

The court was told the victim was treated in hospital and released after exploratory surgery.

Watson, 40, of Wilson Street, Hartlepool, admitted wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm on April 9.

The court heard he has previous convictions for offences of dishonesty, possessing a bladed article and ‘several’ offences of assaulting police officers.

Stephen Constantine, defending, said in mitigation: “It is accepted Mr Watson was struck first.

“I cannot say a lot about what happened next other than the relatively minor injuries were more a result of luck than good management.”

Judge Shaun Morris jailed Watson for six years and six months.

The judge told him: “You are lucky you are not facing a murder charge, and you’d have been convicted, too.

“You have been nothing other than a liability to society, having never done a day’s or put anything back.

“The amount of public money that’s been spent on you must be enormous.

“You have got by by stealing whatever you want, and then assaulting the police officers who come to arrest you.

“This stabbing offence was an horrendous one.

“You should use the time inside to think about what sort of man you’ve been, and the damage you have done to society.”