A former Whitby soldier has been jailed after admitting slashing at the throat of his “best friend” with a six inch knife.
Michael Butler, who had served with distinction during his time in The Army in Afghanistan, had had difficulty in adjusting to civilian life and had turned to drink, York Crown Court was told on Monday.
After attending a funeral for a friend killed in a road traffic accident, and fuelled by drink, Butler, 22, of Abbotts Road became embroiled in an argument over his relationship with a 15-year-old local girl.
Objecting to suggestions by others that his relationship was sexual, Butler sent text and Facebook messages to his friend, Robbie Goodwill, threatening to stab him.
Mr Goodwill, 22, who had also been at the wake, had been making his way home and was on New Bridge in the early hours of October 29, last year, when he was approached by Butler wielding a kitchen knife he had collected from his home.
Butler raised the knife and caused a superficial, eight centimetre wound to his friend’s neck, before exclaiming: “S…, what am I doing and discarding the weapon”.
Butler, who was chased by his victim and repeatedly punched, appeared before the court for sentencing having previously admitted charges of inflicting actual bodily harm and possessing an offensive weapon.
However, he was told by Recorder Jonathan Sandiford that carrying a knife, threatening to use it and then carrying out the threat whilst in drink - having been drinking for around 11 hours - could easily have led to charges of murder or manslaughter.
Charles Blatchford, mitigating, told the court that his client had now addressed his “demons” following leaving The Army, stopped drinking and found work.
He added that Butler had been” goaded” and “mocked” about his relationship with the girl, and was now ashamed and remorseful for what he had done to the friend he had had since the age of five.
Mr Blatchford said that his client’s actions on that night had no only ended the friendship, but had also created a chasm in their mutual social group.
He added that an immediate prison sentence would lose Butler his chance of progressing his job working off-shore on oil rigs.
Passing sentence Recorder Sandiford said that the message must go out that people arming themselves with knives, whatever their background, must expect immediate custody.
He jailed Butler for 10 months.