County Durham Man Jailed For Machete Attack

A man has been jailed for 22 years for a savage and jealousy-fuelled machete attack on his ex-girlfriend's new partner as he lay asleep in bed with her in County Durham.

It was 4.30am when Gary Johnson burst into Holly Dobson's house and started to punch then hack at Christopher Spinks, cutting wounds into his scalp, ear and a blow deep into his leg which sliced through to the bone.

Johnson was sentenced after he was convicted by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court of attempted murder, following the attack in Stanley, County Durham, in August.

Mr Justice Males, sentencing, said the attack could easily have killed Mr Spinks.

The judge said:
``The injuries which Christopher Spinks suffered were very severe. He had deep cuts to his nose and right cheek, a deep cut down to the bone on the left  side of his scalp, and a cut to his left ear which split it in two."

``He also had deep wounds on his left leg, one of which was right down to the bone, which caused significant damage to his muscles and an important nerve."

``These were serious injuries on a defenceless man which could easily have killed him.''

The court heard how Johnson, 26 and from Pelaw Avenue, Chester-le-Street, had a stormy relationship with his ex-partner for about two years. He had a conviction for violence on Ms Dobson, and he was ``intensely jealous'' of any contact she had with other men, the judge said.

The unprovoked attack with the ``vicious looking machete'' left Mr Spinks suffering from panic attacks, having thoughts of suicide and requiring a leg brace, the judge said.

Johnson, who has a young daughter, had sent a series of threatening text messages to his ex-partner in the hours before he travelled five miles to her home.

The judge said:
``So there was a degree of planning and deliberation about your conduct and you wanted Holly Dobson to know what you were doing.''

He imposed a restraining order preventing Johnson from going within 100 metres of his ex-girlfriend or Mr Spinks.

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