An East Goscote man who was stabbed and almost killed in an unprovoked attack while out walking his dog in the village has been reliving the horror of that day after his assailant was jailed for more than 10 years.
The 38-year-old victim was with his wife on Melton Road when Todd Sadlik-Stephenson suddenly attacked him from behind, stabbing him in the neck and severing his jugular and carotid arteries.
The attacker, who was also walking his dog, turned his attentions to the wife but ran off when members of the public intervened.
A passer-by stopped to help the victim as he lay on the ground and gave emergency first aid treatment to save his life.
Sadlik-Stephenson (25), of Tinkers Dell, East Goscote, was sent to prison by a judge for 10 years and six months after admitting grievious bodily harm with intent and battery when he appeared at Leicester Crown Court on Friday.
After the sentence, the victim, who has not been named by police, released a statement about the events of that fateful evening, Sunday October 14 last year: “Without any warning, a total stranger ran up behind us and launched himself at me.
“At first I thought I’d been punched in the neck, but the truth was in fact horrifying.
“I’d been stabbed in the neck and fell to the floor.
“It was a scene that should only be witnessed in a horror film.
“My wife started shouting for help, which focussed the attention on her.
“He grappled with her and tried to take her to the floor.
“However, she was able to break free and run across the road before passers-by intervened.
“I’ve been told by surgeons that the injury I suffered should’ve resulted in my death.
“To this day, nearly four months later, we still can’t believe what happened that night.
“I don’t think we’ll ever understand it fully or comprehend why someone would do this to a complete stranger.”
He revealed how the incident had affected the lives of both himself and his family.
“I’m still on the long road to recovery, while my wife had to witness the most unimaginable horror – stemming the bleeding of a loved one should never have to happen,” said the man.
“This incident has changed the way we live our lives.
“My wife and I, as well as our two sons, are cautious everywhere we go.
“I would like to say that this single, cowardly act, has not only affected my life, the lives of my friends and families, but also those of the defendant. “We hold no ill feeling towards his family.
“I am just sorry that the needless actions of one individual have had repercussions and consequences on so many lives, and in our case, leaving permanent physical and mental scars.”
The victim was keen to thank the woman who saved his life by administering first aid treatment seconds after the attack and the surgeons who operated on him.
He added: “Since then, the ongoing support from nurses, doctors, amazing friends and amazing family have kept us going.
“The support from our local community and the police has been incredible and truly humbling.”
The court was told that an investigation by detectives uncovered CCTV which showed Sadlik-Stephenson running off from the scene and returning home.
He was arrested 24 hours after carrying out the attack.
Sadlik-Stephenson was sentenced to 10 years and six months for grievous bodily harm with intent and six months for battery. He will serve the sentences concurrently.
After the hearing, Det Insp Tim Lindley, the senior investigating officer for Leicestershire Police, said: “There’s little doubt in my mind that if it wasn’t for the intervention of a member of the public who provided first aid at the scene, this would have been a murder investigation.
“The help that she provided saved the victim’s life.
“This was a horrific attack which has had a substantial and lasting impact on the victim, who is still recovering from his injuries.
“It has also had a significant impact on the local community within East Goscote.
“I would like to extend my thanks to those people who spoke to us as part of this investigation.
“We had more than 60 people who were either witnesses or who called to provide information.
“Both the victim in this case and the wider community in East Goscote should be reassured that Sadlik-Stephenson has been convicted of this callous assault and is now facing a lengthy custodial sentence.”
Det Con Beverley Toon, the officer in the case, added: “The victim and his wife have been through a particularly traumatic incident and recognised how close he came to losing his life.
“The events of that evening have had a significant impact upon their lives and I expect they will struggle to come to terms with the attack for some time. “Despite the understandable difficulties they faced in the days following the attack, they were fully committed to assisting the police from the outset which allowed us to secure charges at an early stage in the investigation.
“For that I commend them and hope that the conviction of their attacker provides them with some much needed closure.”