A 31-year-old who stabbed another man for kissing his ex-girlfriend in a "cowardly, sneaky and unprovoked" attack has been jailed.

Liam Patel was handed a custodial sentence at Burnley Crown Court on Tuesday after pleading guilty to Section 18 wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and possession of a bladed article.

The charges relate to an incident which took place on March 12 in Europa Bar, Nelson.

The court heard how Patel's ex-girlfriend was in the bar with friends, including a man who was unknown to the defendant.

The group had been in the bar since about 8pm and were having a good time, drinking and chatting.

Patel, who later admitted he had been drinking and taking cocaine for most of the evening, was also present in the bar but had been asked to leave by security at about 10.30pm after his ex-girlfriend told them she felt concerned about his behaviour towards her.

Prosecuting, Paul Brookwell told the court: "Around an hour later, Patel returned to the bar and quietly approached the man and jabbed him in the side.

"At first, the man thought he had been punched but saw a glint of a knife.

"He didn't know why he had been stabbed, but as the defendant went towards him again he kicked out to stop him.

"The woman attempted to intervene as did the doorman, who disarmed the defendant and took the knife from him."

The court heard how the victim only noticed he was bleeding as his shirt was covered in blood, and he was taken to hospital in Manchester where he was given stitches and painkillers for a puncture wound to his left side, which had also pierced his liver and fractured his ribs. He was then sent home. 

However, two days later, he presented at Burnley General Hospital complaining of coughing up blood and was again given painkillers and sent home.

Patel, of no fixed abode, was interviewed and told police he had been drinking and taking cocaine and had seen his victim kissing his ex-girlfriend.

He also told them he couldn't remember going to get the knife or where he got it from and said he "just lost it". 

The victim's personal statement detailed how he had already been suffering with his mental health and had only recently moved to Nelson.

Mr Brookwell continued: "He has been left with sleepless nights as he relives the incident, he is having difficulties socialising and has fears it will happen again. 

"He did not do anything to provoke this assault.

"The defendant's behaviour was irrational and the victim is now living with scars from an attack which could have resulted in his death had the knife been a few inches in the wrong direction.

"There wasn't even an exchange of words between the two men and it was clearly unprovoked."

In mitigation for Patel, John Woodward said his client had never troubled the courts before except for a case of section 39 wounding in October last year, when he assaulted a pub landlord and caused criminal damage to a pub, for which he was given a conditional discharge last month.

Patel had assaulted the landlord and smashed two windows, causing £200 of damage.

He said: "He was not provoked by the complainant at all but his mind was such that he felt provoked by his ex when he saw her kissing this man, and simply lost it.

"He told police he'd found it extremely difficult to come to terms with the breakdown of his relationship with her and had suffered depression and anxiety, turning to drink and drugs and even losing his job over it.

"I urge you to be as lenient as you can be."

The court was told that in a letter written to his former partner from prison, Patel said he had no remorse for what he'd done to his victim, and only felt remorse for what had happened to himself and said his life had been ruined by her. 

Recorder Paul Hodgkinson said: "Your vitriol should have been directed at your own stupid actions and not anyone else.

"You undertook a cowardly and sneaky attack on your victim, you didn't even have the courage to confront him, albeit he did nothing wrong, but you sneakily and cowardly stabbed him and then scurried off like the coward you are and left him with some very serious injuries. 

"You, and him, are lucky that you didn't kill him as that could have been a real prospect that night. 

"I have read a letter you addressed to me but I have also read the disgusting letter you sent to your ex-girlfriend where you show zero remorse for what you have done."

Patel was sentenced to four years and four months in jail and handed a restraining order preventing him from contacting his victim.