A thug forced a young man to go to a remote cemetery, before stabbing him and leaving him for dead.

Daniel Spong, 26, made his 24-year-old victim meet him at a pub to apologise for causing his sister 'distress' before driving him to Toft's Hill cemetery, Stathern, in the Vale of Belvoir.

After plunging a knife into the victim, Spong chillingly announced: "If you die from this you deserve it."

Leicester Crown Court was told the defenceless 24-year-old was left lying in a pool of blood at night.

Despite a lacerated liver, he managed to stagger down a hill searching for help, until he encountered a couple who alerted the emergency sercies.

The victim, who also bled into his chest cavity, underwent an operation and has been left with ongoing medical difficulties and psychological trauma.

The court heard that Spong also carried out a smoke grenade attack at a house in an unconnected incident, for which he was also sentenced, Leicestershire Live reports

Philip Gibbs, prosecuting, said Spong had learnt that the victim had caused 'distress' to his sister and he messaged a friend saying the man was "dead."

Spong was jailed for four years and six months (stock photo)

He then spent days tracking him down, sending repeated messages and making 17 phone calls.

They eventually met at a pub in Melton, to discuss the matter.

The victim agreed to accompany Spong, and a man who was with him, on a car journey to apologise to the defendant's sister for whatever problem he had caused previous week.

He was the taken on a daunting 15 minute journey in Spong's car to the isolated cemetery in Stathern at 8pm on Friday March 13, where he feared something terrible was going to happen.

When they arrived, Spong's associate punched the man to the ground and stamped on him.

The defendant was "clearly in charge" and told his friend to return to the car, said Mr Gibbs.

Spong told the victim: "There's no way out for you now."

The prosecutor said: "He produced a five-inch long knife, bent down and stabbed him once in the stomach."

Spong said it was in retaliation for "violating" his sister and added: "If you die you deserve it."

The victim's phone rang and the defendant took it from him before driving off.

However, Spong dropped his own mobile, recovered at the scene by the police who found his incriminating text messages.

He was arrested in the early hours at an address in Alan Moss Road, Loughborough, said Mr Gibbs.

Spong, a father of three, of Barker Crescent, Melton, admitted causing grievous bodily harm and possessing a knife.

Mr Gibbs said it was "unclear" how the victim had misbehaved towards Spong's sister, while walking her home from a pub the previous week.

The victim told the police he had been drinking and accepted he may have acted inappropriately in some way, the court was told.

In a personal impact statement he said: "I was stabbed and left for dead."

He described suffering from "night terrors" and said his mental health has been affected.

Fearing reprisals, he said: "I'm constantly looking over my shoulder. I'm a shell of myself and feel I've been robbed of the best years of my life."

Spong also pleaded guilty to unrelated offences of affray and criminal damage.

It involved him making menacing threats of violence to his then estranged partner, before putting a smoke grenade through the letterbox of her family's home in Melton, at 3am, on Sunday February 2.

It caused terror to the occupants, who feared the smoke-logged house was ablaze and the fire service attended, although the damage was confined to scorch marks on the carpet.

Spong was said to have since reconciled with his partner.

Mr Gibbs said the defendant's record of previous convictions included false imprisonment, causing actual bodily harm, harassment and three knife possessions.

Recorder Francesca Levett said: "These offences arose because you can't control your temper."

She said of the stab victim's car journey to the graveyard: "It was 15 minutes away and he knew something bad was going to happen, it must have been terrifying.

"You told him there was 'no way back' and you stabbed him saying if he died he 'deserved it' and left him bleeding profusely."

She said the "smoke bomb" incident the previous month must have been "very frightening" for the occupants.

Paul Prior, mitigating, said Spong was very close to his sister and felt protective towards her and his nephews and nieces, who had all been "upset and frightened" as a result of whatever the complainant had done.

He added: "But that was no excuse to take the law into his own hands.

"Fortunately it was not the most serious injury this court has seen, although I accept there was psychological harm.

"There's no objection to a restraining order which should give the complainant a degree of comfort knowing he has some protection from Mr Spong.

"His actions in putting a smoke bomb through the letter box must have been absolutely terrifying.

"Whilst on remand in custody he's missed the birth of his daughter and he's not going to be able to take part in his children's lives for some time."

Spong was jailed for four years and six months.

A 10 year restraining order was imposed, banning any contact with the stab victim.