A schizophrenic teenager who knifed a Burnley taxi driver in the face has been jailed for six years, eight months.

William Sutherland, then 18, left victim Aftab Uddin covered in blood and needing stitches after the unprovoked midnight attack on December 27.

Sutherland, who was also armed with a hammer, had struck after Mr Uddin picked up the defendant and two others in Burnley.

As the taxi was on Springhill Road, the defendant shouted ‘stop’ and Mr Uddin pulled over.

Sutherland put his right hand in his trouser pocket, took out the hammer, placed it on his thigh and put his hand over it.

He then pulled a knife from his inside pocket. Mr Uddin became extremely nervous and frightened and stayed sitting in the taxi silently, out of fear.

Within minutes, Sutherland, hit the victim two or three times in the mouth with force.

Mr Uddin grabbed his attacker’s right hand to defend himself and the defendant immediately stabbed him with his other hand, to the left side of the face, between his left eye and his ear.

The victim began to bleed profusely and grabbed Sutherland’s left hand, but the defendant pulled free, got out of the cab and made off. The two people in the back of the taxi also ran away.

Stephen Parker, prosecuting, said Mr Uddin called for help, the police and an ambulance arrived and he was taken to the Royal Blackburn Hospital. He had two stitches on the outside of his mouth, two stitches inside and five stitches to the gash on his face. The victim was given antibiotics and was in so much pain he couldn’t sleep.

The defendant, now 19, of Arkwright Street, Burnley, had admitted wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm and battery. He was sent to a young offenders’ institution.

Burnley Crown Court heard the defendant, who had 15 offences on his record, had now been assessed by a psychiatrist for the first time. He had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and was on medication.