United Kingdom

Thug, 25, who left neighbour missing part of his SKULL could have seven-year jail sentence increased

Dean Stewart (pictured above), 25, left Ryan Covell, 22, with devastating injuries after the attack in Newcastle city centre last June

A violent thug who left his neighbour missing part of his skull after a vicious knife attack could have his seven-year jail sentence increased for being 'too lenient'.

Dean Stewart, 25, left Ryan Covell, 22, with devastating injuries after the sustained assault in Newcastle city centre last June.

He was jailed for seven years and 10 months after the attack which left his victim unable to talk, read and write.

Now the sentence could be increased further after being referred to the Attorney General's office to be reviewed under the Unduly Lenient Sentence (ULS) scheme.

Government documents show the case has been referred to the Court of Appeal.

The ULS scheme allows victims of crime, their families and the public to ask for a review of certain sentences that they believe are far too low.

Newcastle Crown Court heard in November how the intoxicated pair got into an altercation inside Ryan's flat at the Tyneside Foyer on Westgate Road.

Using a knife, Stewart inflicted life-threatening injuries to the victim, including a 3cm deep cut to his neck which pierced an artery.

Prosecutor Jolyon Perks said a neighbour saw Stewart through a window pacing in the kitchen holding what she described as a 10-inch blade and him looking 'panicked and regretful'.

Ryan was seen leaving the building with blood pouring from his neck and caught the attention of the concierge before collapsing.

Mr Covell, from Fenham, pictured with his mother Diane. The court heard he had made 'little recovery since' and was still 'too ill to make a statement' on the attack

The victim was given a 'life-saving' emergency blood transfusion at the scene by paramedics before being taken to Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI).

He was placed in an induced coma and later had emergency surgery to remove part of his skull in order to save his life after suffering a stroke.

The court heard he had made 'little recovery since' and was still 'too ill to make a statement' on the attack.

In a victim impact statement read out in court, his mother Diane said her son's life had been changed forever.

It read: 'Ryan still cannot talk, read or write and it's highly likely that he will never be able to do these things again. His life has significantly changed for the worse.

'He will never have a relationship, have children, be in employment or even go to the pub with his mates, simple everyday things we take for granted but are of the utmost importance.

Mr Covell pictured before the attack. In a victim impact statement read out in court, his mother Diane said her son's life had been changed forever

'Ryan is not able to provide an account. He isn't able to defend himself or give his version of events and tell the court how he ended up been brutally stabbed.

'He cannot tell how he was left to die ¡n the street, fighting for his life. The only person who can give an account or rationale for his actions is Dean Stewart.

'It is likely he will play this down or say he was provoked without Ryan being able to provide his account and this simply is not the case.

'Stewart still has his whole life in front of him but he has robbed Ryan of this and I will never forgive him for that. He has denied Ryan the chance to live a fulfilling life and that makes me physically sick.'

Stewart, of Newcastle Upon Tyne, was previously arrested and denied a charge of attempted murder at Newcastle Crown Court.

But he later pleaded guilty to wounding with intent to commit grievous bodily harm, which was accepted by prosecutors.

Brian Hegarty, mitigating, said Stewart had 'deep childhood problems' following the death of his parents when he was a teenager.

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