By Paul Thornton
A YOB has been jailed after he stabbed a friend in the neck during a fight – over a bottle of Buckfast.
Ricky Stewart, 29, confronted William Hunter after being accused of nicking a bottle on tonic wine from a friend’s house.
Stewart came at the 25-year-old with a baseball bat but stabbed him in the throat after a knife turned-up during the fight.
Hunter claimed that Stewart took the booze from a party and had stole aftershave and trainers from Stewart’s flat in a bid to get him to give it back.
But Hunter was left with a 1.5cm scar on his neck during a bloody bust-up outside Stewart’s home on May 19 this year.
And at Livingston Sheriff Court Stewart was jailed for 10-and-a-half months after he admitted assault to severe injury.
Stewart also pleaded guilty to possession of a baseball bat but had a not guilty plea to having a knife accepted by the Crown.
Fiscal depute Marian Haig told the court how Stewart had turned-up at a party in Union Road, Whitburn, West Lothian.
Miss Haig said: “The parties in the house ran out of alcohol and some of them left to buy more.
“On returning to Union Road they discovered that a bottle of Buckfast Tonic Wine was missing from the house.
“The accused had left the address when they had returned.”
Miss Haig said that Hunter suspected that Stewart may have taken the wine and along with three others went to his home in the town’s Union Drive to confront him.
She said: “They took aftershave and trainers from the accused’s flat intending that he would get them back when he returned the wine.”
But when Stewart found out he raced out of his home, arming himself with the baseball bat. His lawyer, Alan Jackson, said that Hunter took the bat from him and hit him over the head and back with it before a knife appeared.
Miss Haig added: “A knife was seen in the hand of the accused and he lunged with it in the direction of Mr Hunter and he stabbed him in the neck.
“The two men struggled over the knife and both of them cut their hands. The accused dropped the knife and ran back to his flat.”
Horrified neighbours looked on as Hunter – along with the others – hurled bricks at Stewart’s window in retaliation before they returned to the party house.
There they realised how serious Hunter’s injuries were and called police, who in turn alerted an ambulance.
Hunter was raced to hospital where surgeons stitched his neck – they also noted damage to his left hand thumb.
Stewart was found to have head injuries and had cuts on his hand.
Miss Haig said that although the blade had never been found, it had been described as a four-inch kitchen knife.
Mr Jackson said that Stewart had been on “relatively friendly terms” with Hunter and that the incident was unlikely to affect their relationship.
But he insisted his client denied stealing the bottle of Buckfast that started the trouble.
Mr Jackson said: “He was in bed by the time the other parties came round and the first he knew of the missing bottle was when three or four people came into his flat asking him about a bottle of Buckfast.”
He added that Stewart had not taken the knife with him and that one of the other three people must have had it.
Sheriff Iain Fleming sentenced Stewart, whose address was given as Edinburgh Prison, to 10-and-a-half months in jail.
He added: “I have to say that I am left with the impression that far too many people took the law into their own hands that night – that includes you.”
Sheriff Fleming backdated the sentence to May, when Stewart was first remanded.