A Sheffield man, who left two strangers with permanent scars after stabbing them near to a city centre takeaway while high on a cocktail of cocaine and booze, has been jailed for over four years.
During a hearing at Sheffield Crown Court today, Judge Sarah Wright sentenced Zak Pywell to four-years, three-months in prison, after the 23-year-old admitted a string of charges relating to the incident, in which he stabbed two strangers.
Prosecuting, Nicola Quinney, told the court how at around 3am on November 9 last year, Pywell became involved in a fight that broke out inside the Chicken Stop takeaway on the corner of Division Street and Carver Street in the city centre.
She said Pywell, of Birley Spa Lane, Hackenthorpe, became involved in the fight after his friend, Ben Mahmoud, punched the first complainant.
"Mahmood punched the man, and it is then that the defendant became involved. He lunged towards the man who was on the floor. As he started to get up, his side was exposed, and the defendant leaned down towards him," explained Ms Quinney.
Pywell ran out of the shop, and the man, who works for the ambulance service, then realised he had been stabbed in the abdomen by Pywell after seeing blood on the floor, the court was told.
After leaving the shop, Pywell then started a fight with a 20-year-old university student he came into contact with outside the Chicken Stop, who he proceeded to stab in the stomach, arm, shoulder and face.
None of the three men were known to eachother, but they had all attended Viper Rooms on Carver Street in the city centre in the hours leading up to the attack, the court heard.
Through statements read out in court, Pywell's victims described how the attack had left them with permanent scarring and said they now felt vulnerable and anxious in social situations.
The first complainant, aged 25, said that he suffered with post-traumatic stress disorder in the wake of the attack and is forced to consider how close he came to losing his life on a regular basis, when attending similar incidents through his job with the East Midlands Ambulance Service.
The second of Pywell's victims said the attack left him with a permanent scar on his face and was concerned this may hold him back when applying for jobs. The young man said the attack had also caused him to fall behind with university work, which meant he found it harder to secure the necessary placement for his course.
Pywell admitted to an offence of affray at his plea and trial preparation hearing, but only pleaded guilty to the offences concerning wounding and possession of a weapon on the day of his trial when enhanced CCTV of the attack was submitted by the prosecution.
Amy Earnshaw, defending, described the attack as being 'out of character' for Pywell, who, she said, could not remember what had happened due to the alcohol and cocaine he had consumed during the course of the night.
"He is bemused as to why he acted in this fashion. He has let his family down," said Ms Earnshaw, adding: "He comes from a very close-knit family, and they are distraught over his actions and the effect this is going to have on all of them in the future."
Passing sentence, Judge Wright told Pywell: "You carried a knife, when going out socially in the city centre.
"Not only did you carry it, but you used it on two victims.
"The results for them, and everyone else involved, have been catastrophic."
Two other men, who had been involved in the initial fight inside the takeaway, pleaded guilty to affray at an earlier hearing.
Ben Mahmoud, 24, of Jaunty Drive, Basegreen, Sheffield and Aaron Seeley, 23, of Robin Lane, Beighton, Sheffield, were each given a 12 month community order during a hearing held last month.
The Chicken Stop was banned from opening at night for two-months in the wake of the attack, and has now been forced to hire bouncers on weekends and some bank holidays to prevent trouble, as part of licensing conditions imposed by Sheffield City Council.