For the sake of £50, knife thug is jailed for 18 months

Co-accused Sylvia Paterson who was acquitted
Co-accused Sylvia Paterson who was acquitted

A violent thug who slashed another man in a row over stolen cash and milk tokens has been jailed for 18 months.

Mark Cochrane grabbed a knife and cut alleged thief Robert Campbell on the arm and neck, a jury at Livingston Sheriff Court was told.

Giving evidence, Mr Campbell, (39), said that Cochrane approached him at a birthday party in a neighbour’s flat in The Vennel, placed the blade on his arm and pressed it down.

He said: “I struggled and it sliced my arm. It was scary at the time.”

Mr Campbell was rushed to hospital where the gash was closed with butterfly stitches.

Cochrane, (47), had denied hamesucken – an ancient Scottish offence of breaking into someone’s home and assaulting them. He changed his plea to guilty on the second day of his trial on Tuesday when he admitted being guilty of a reduced charge of assault to injury.

Cochrane’s girlfriend Sylvia Paterson, (38), who lives with him in Linlithgow, pleaded not guilty to the charge and was acquitted.

Prosecutor Brian Robertson revealed that Campbell had served several prison sentences for violence, including a High Court conviction for assault to severe injury, permanent disfigurement and danger of life.

His solicitor Darryl Lovie said trouble started when the victim – a self-confessed heroin addict – allegedly stole £30 and milk tokens from unemployed Cochrane’s home.

The accused and his partner – who are both unemployed and suffered hardship as a result of the theft – arranged to meet Mr Campbell to get their money back.

Mr Lovie said Cochrane lost his temper when he found Campbell had spent their cash on drugs, grabbed the knife off a table and cut him twice.

Jailing Cochrane, Sheriff Douglas Kinloch told him: “For the sake of £50 at most you find yourself prosecuted on indictment at the sheriff court and facing prison.

“While you have pleaded guilty to a reduced charge, you nevertheless accept that you assaulted Robert Campbell with a knife, causing injury.”

The sheriff added: “The potential for a knife to cause serious injury is by itself sufficient to justify a prison sentence and I can’t ignore the fact that you have a number of previous convictions for serious violence, including one at the High Court where you received a prison sentence of seven years.”

He backdated the 18-month sentence to June 19, when Cochrane was first remanded.