Man jailed for knife attack in Burntisland

High Court in Edinburgh
High Court in Edinburgh

A knife attacker who tried to murder a man weeks after he was freed from prison was given an indeterminate jail sentence on Monday.

Craig Donaldson stabbed his victim in the neck after approaching him from behind following an argument between them.

Donaldson (31), described as a prisoner, climbed out of a window and fled after the murder bid on Patrick Feeley in Burntisland but returned to the flat and went up to police officers outside and was detained.

He still had the handle of a knife in his back pocket while the blood stained blade was found on a couch in the flat.

A judge told Donaldson at the High Court in Edinburgh that it was fortunate for Mr Feeley that he did not suffer an injury to any of the major vessels.

Lord Uist said: “If the angle of the attack had been slightly different he would have died.”

The judge told Donaldson, who had been freed from prison just over three weeks earlier: “It is clear you are a habitual criminal.”

Lord Uist told Donaldson’s defence counsel: “He is very fortunate he is not about to be sentenced for murder.”

Donaldson was found to have an anti-social personality disorder with psychopathic traits and was assessed as posing a high risk to the safety of the public.

Lord Uist imposed an Order for Lifelong Restriction on the knife attacker who earlier admitted attempting to murder Mr Feeley on April 23 last year at a house in Somerville Street, Burntisland, by assaulting him to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement and to the danger of his life.

The judge ordered that he must serve three years and nine months in jail before he is eligible to seek release from the parole authorities.

But Lord Uist said: “You must not assume you will be released from prison at the end of that period.”

“You will be released only when it is considered no longer necessary for the protection of the public that you continue to be confined in prison,” he said.

Donaldson had been drinking on the night of the murder bid and was under the influence of drugs.

He became aggressive to Mr Feeley and started to argue with him. He asked him to go outside and challenged him to a fight.

The court heard that Mr Feeley then became aware that Donaldson had left the room and gone to the kitchen.

Moments later he realised that he was behind him and then felt a blow to the left side of his neck and realised that he was bleeding heavily.

Others in the flat went to his aid and held a towel against his neck in order to stop the blood flow. The stabbing victim began to drift in and out of consciousness.

He was taken to hospital and found to have a three centimetre deep wound to his neck. The wound was cleaned and stitched and Mr Feeley was given antibiotics.

Defence counsel Ronnie Renucci said of Donaldson: “He has shown remorse and is able to recognise the impact and consequences of his behaviour on others.”

Mr Renucci said that Donaldson’s previous criminal record was extensive and “unenviable”, but argued that to impose an OLR on him was premature.