A MAN convinced he was going to be the victim of an assault stabbed his sleeping friend several times to the head, neck and back.

Christopher Bleasdale launched his attack on victim David Neale while he was in bed at his home on Shear Brow in Blackburn.

Preston Crown Court heard that the 28-year-old, who had taken a psychoactive drug, most likely to be spice, was detained under the mental health act when first arrested for the offence.

Mr Neale, who has not cooperated with the CPS in providing a statement, suffered several gashes to his neck, scalp and back in the incident, as well as damage to his liver and lungs from the stab wounds.

Prosecuting the case, Stephen Parker said: “The victim is David Neale, a man who has refused from day one to cooperate with the CPS. He along with the defendant and witnesses were all residents at a communal property on Shear Brow in Blackburn. It is a property consisting of several flats with a communal area.

“One of the witnesses, at about 8.50pm on March 9, had gone to the victim’s flat to ask if he had any tobacco. He said when he got there, he could hear rustling from within the room and after a few seconds, the defendant exited the victim’s room with blood all over him. He clearly told the witness not to go inside the room.

“However he did and saw the victim clutching his right-hand side and his neck saying ‘Chris has stabbed me, I can’t breathe’.

“When asked what had happened, he simply responded ‘I do not know, I was asleep.’

“He later said “He stabbed me; Chris stabbed me while I was sleeping.”

Both the defendant and witness called an ambulance and the police also arrived at the address a short time later. Bleasdale was not interviewed at the time as he was declared unfit at the station and was immediately sectioned.

Listing the injuries sustained by the victim, Mr Parker said: “The injuries are referred to by doctors as a superficial laceration on the right side of the spine, a 3cm laceration on the scalp, two lacerations to the neck and further cuts to the ribs.

“The doctor said the depths of the wounds could not be assessed but goes on the suggest there was air in the lungs as well as lung and liver lacerations.”

Defending, Bob Elias said his client’s main mitigating feature were the mental health problems he suffered with, and added that he had made attempts to call an ambulance following the event.

Summarising, Judge Andrew Jefferies QC said: “You have long suffered from mental health issues and at the time. An expert has concluded that your schizophrenic illness had impact on your behaviour - namely delusional perhaps, believing you were to be the victim of a sexual assault.

“However what is also highlighted by the expert is that your use of the substance Spice had an impact on that behaviour.

“I am rather hampered in knowing the full details of what went on inside that room because the victim of the attack has not cooperated, hence there is no statement.

“The reason this is very serious is because the victim was asleep, and the consequences could have been much more serious.

“What I do know is there is evidence that this was a repeated incident if nothing else, by the number of blows which were delivered. In terms of the guidelines in dealing with the question on culpability, there is no really difficulty because you were armed with a weapon. There must have been some degree of premeditation as you were armed and entered the room.

“It is very difficult to assess if the harm was serious in the terms of this offence. What is clear is that the victim was vulnerable, and this was a sustained and repeated assault.

“No pre-sentence report was requested on your behalf; no mental health disposal recommendation was made.

“You have a long record, and worryingly of late, the offences involve possession of knives. You were under the influence of spice at the time of the offence. The location of the offences is an aggravating feature. The main mitigation feature is that of your mental health position.

“I have taken on board the submissions made by your council particularly wether or not, in this current climate I could reduce this sentence further to make it one which I might suspend, but I’ve come to the conclusion that the offence is so serious that only custody can be properly justified.”

Bleasdale, of Blackburn Road, Accrington, was sentenced to 31 months in prison.