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Bungay man who stabbed neighbour while on cocaine and booze binge put behind bars

PUBLISHED: 16:25 16 August 2017 | UPDATED: 17:58 16 August 2017

Paul Courtney, 33, of Queen's Road, Bungay. Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

Paul Courtney, 33, of Queen's Road, Bungay. Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

Archant

A Bungay builder who ran into his next door neighbour's house and attacked him with a kitchen knife after hearing voices in his head has been jailed for seven years and four months.

Paul Courtney had been on an alcohol and cocaine binge and had not slept for four days before the attack – and had been hearing voices telling him his wife was having an affair with his neighbour, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

At 7.30pm on March 18 he went to his neighbour Robert Riches’ home in Queen’s Road, Bungay, carrying a kitchen knife and when Mr Riches opened the door he forced him to the ground.

“He then attempted to stab Mr Riches several times with the knife until he managed to overpower and disarm him,” said Catherine Bradshaw, prosecuting.

As a result of the incident Mr Riches suffered cuts to his right hand and had been left traumatised by what happened.

Courtney, 33, of Queen’s Road, Bungay, admitted aggravated burglary and two offences of having a knife in a public place.

Jailing him Judge Rupert Overbury said Courtney had been “out of control” and it was a miracle that Mr Riches had not been seriously injured during the attack.

“It must have been an absolutely terrifying experience,” he added.

He said Courtney’s mental health had been unstable in the days before the attack resulting in his wife and children moving out of the family home.

He said a psychiatrist considered Courtney had been in a drug and alcohol induced psychosis at the time of the attack.

“You had a psychotic belief that your neighbour was somehow having a liaison with your wife,” said the judge.

Daniel Taylor, for Courtney, said his client had been on a cocaine and alcohol binge the week before the attack and had not slept for four days.

He had been hearing voices in his head and became convinced that Mr Riches had been having an affair with his wife.

He said Courtney had intended to talk to Mr Riches and scare him and had not intended to use the knife.

“There came to a point where the knife was used against him during the course of the struggle and he accepts it was good fortune the injuries weren’t more serious,” said Mr Taylor.

“He is extremely remorseful,” he added.

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