• Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

‘Reckless’ knife waving by Chinnor man resulted in injury to best friend’s finger, court hears

Byoxfordnewspaper

Aug 26, 2022

A man accidentally sliced his friend’s middle finger as he tried to harm himself with a kitchen knife, a court heard.

Matthew Ewens, 32, took the knife from the drawer in a ‘cry for help’. He attempted to cut his own neck before his friend stepped in to try and disarm him.

He had gone to a friend’s home in Chinnor while drunk on April 25 last year and grew upset when she refused to lend him money.

The woman called Ewens’ ‘best friend’, who was known to be able to calm him down. But rather than calm him down, the male friend’s presence had the opposite effect. They argued then scuffled before the defendant left the property.

Ewens returned and apologised, but he and the male friend began to argue again. His female friend, in whose house they were arguing, tried to calm them down ‘as she had children in the house’, prosecutor Julie Whitby said.

He pulled open the knife drawer and took out a kitchen knife, which he used to stab himself in the neck.

His friend tried to disarm him, telling the defendant ‘not to be a d***’.

Ms Whitby said: “Mr Ewens started to swing the knife around towards his stomach.” The blade caught his friend’s middle finger. It all but severed the tendon, which had to be repaired in surgery.

The victim said he did not want his friend to go to prison, recognising his mental health difficulties. The man had been off work for several months, leaving him thousands of pounds out of pocket.

Sentencing him to 16 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years, Judge Ian Pringle QC said the defendant had ‘lashed out’ in a way that was ‘totally reckless’.

He ordered Ewens comply with an alcohol rehabilitation requirement and mental health treatment programme, and pay £1,000 in compensation as a mark of his ‘genuine contrition’.

Ewens’ barrister, Matthew Cullen, asked the judge to impose a suspended sentence order to allow his client to receive mental health support in the community.

“He needs professional support. He hadn’t had it before this offence,” he said, describing his client has having ‘fallen through the net’.

The defendant was genuinely remorseful and was ‘extremely grateful’ that he had been able to keep the friendship of his victim.

Ewens, of Church Lane, Chinnor, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to causing grievous bodily harm. The plea was entered on a basis that had been accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service.

For support, contact the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit samaritans.org.

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward