Edinburgh knife thug, 31, jailed for stabbing man who refused to hand over wallet

A career criminal who inflicted a potentially life threatening injury on a man who refused to hand over his wallet has been jailed for four years.

Lee Campbell,31, stabbed John O’Flaherty, 38, in the chest during a terrifying confrontation outside a chemist’s shop in Calder Road, Edinburgh on December 10 last year.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard how Campbell ordered his victim to hand over his cash. He then stabbed Mr O’Flaherty after he refused.

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Police investigating the incident discovered Campbell was the man they were looking for. Detectives discovered Campbell had served a four year prison sentence for previously using a knife during a robbery. He also has convictions for assault, theft, and carrying an offensive weapon.

The High Court in Edinburgh

The court heard that Mr O’Flaherty, who lives in south Edinburgh, was attacked after he left the McKinnon Pharmacy and was getting into a taxi.

On Wednesday, judge Lord Tyre told Campbell that he’d be supervised by the authorities for three years following his release from custody.

He said: “You could easily have been here facing a charge of murder.”

The judge added that Campbell had been prepared to use a knife on a “wholly innocent” individual who had refused to comply with his demands to hand over a wallet.

The story emerged last month after Campbell, a prisoner of HMP Edinburgh, pleaded guilty to assaulting Mr O’Flaherty by demanding his wallet and striking him on the body with a knife.

Prosecutors state that Mr Campbell’s actions severely injured Mr O’Flaherty, permanently disfigured him, and placed his life in “danger.”

At proceedings last month, prosecution lawyer Richard Goddard QC told judge Lord Tyre that Campbell believed his victim had money and that he wanted to get his hands on it.

Mr Goddard added: “The accused approached the complainer, pushed him hard to his front and stated ‘I’ve got a blade, give me your f*****g money or I’ll plug you, ya radge.’

“The complainer refused to hand over his wallet. The accused replied ‘Give it to me ya mug, I’m no playing.’

“Again the complainer refused. The accused then slid the blade of a knife out of the sleeve of his right arm.

“He then struck the complainer with his right hand into the complainer’s left chest area. A struggle then ensued as the complainer sought to ward off the accused.

“The complainer managed to push the accused away and closed the taxi doors. The driver drove off.”

Mr Goddard told the court that Mr O’Flaherty at first thought he had been punched and tried to get on with his daily activities.

However, he started to have difficulty breathing, started bleeding heavily and was rushed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary’s High Dependency Unit.

Mr Goddard added: “On examination, the complainer suffered a stab injury between his fourth and fifth rub to the left side of his chest.

“A CT scan showed the left lung partially collapsed. An injury of this nature was potentially life threatening.”

Mr Goddard said medics managed to treat Mr O’Flaherty and he left hospital on December 23 2018.

On Wednesday, defence solicitor advocate Leanne McQuillan told the court that Campbell has little recollection of the offence as he was under the influence of Valium at the time.

She said: “He is someone who has had a drug problem for a number of years.

“He understands that offending with weapons of this type won’t be tolerated.

“He understands that the complainer was not more significantly injured.

“His ultimate goal is to be drug free.”

Lord Tyre added that he would have jailed Campbell for six years if he hadn’t pleaded guilty.

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