Four years jail for knife attacker

A knife attacker who burst in on a sleeping man and assaulted him was jailed for four years yesterday after a judge branded his actions “wholly inexcusable”.

Francis Whyte, 42, struck his victim with the weapon during the attack at 106 Nederdale, Lerwick, on 22nd June last year.

Whyte was originally facing a charge of attempted murder but a jury earlier convicted him of a lesser offence of assault to injury.

Lord Burns told Whyte at the High Court in Edinburgh that he had carried out a premeditated attack on the man and had been assessed as a high risk of re-offending. The judge ordered that he should be kept under supervision for a further three years.

Lord Burns pointed out that Whyte had also plead guilty to threatening and abusive behaviour towards another man by brandishing knives and striking a wall and bed with a knife at Port Arthur, Scalloway, on the same day.

“You compelled him to drive you to Lerwick for the purpose of confronting [the victim],” he said, adding it was plainly “a terrifying experience”.

The victim’s fianceé said she had been in her sitting room when Whyte came in unexpectedly and asked for the man, who was upstairs asleep.

She dialled 999 and efforts were made to stop him and tried to pull Whyte off the victim. She earlier told Whyte’s trial: “I saw the blood and then I saw his hand go down towards [his] stomach.”

She said she managed to get the knife and throw it away and police arrived shortly afterwards.

The victim said: “I realised someone was on top of me and I managed to get him over.”

Joiner Whyte, described as a prisoner, was living in homeless accommodation on Shetland at the time, the court heard.

His defence counsel Jonathan Crowe said: “It is clear that he is a man who took the law into his own hands.” But he said Whyte has had a long time to reflect on his behaviour and was “horrified” by it.

He said Whyte had had “an issue” with his victim, but was now remorseful and apologetic over what had taken place.

• All the latest from Lerwick Sheriff Court in tomorrow’s paper.


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