CRAZED Lee Mitchell stabbed his best friend in the chest in a cannabis-fuelled psychotic bid to murder him.
His permanently-scarred victim has told of what he thought would be his final moments at the hands of his 44-year-old pal wielding a 17cm blade.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard Mitchell was suffering from delusions and thought 35-year-old Eddie Mitchell – no relation – was the devil when he went to his home and stabbed him with a carving knife.
Mitchell had gone to Eddie’s home near Ledbury Road taking the blade with him, walked into the garden and lunged at his friend – striking his collar bone as the victim turned around when he heard Mitchell approach.
Simon Jones, prosecuting, said Eddie fled the garden jumping over two 6ft walls into Ledbury Road as Mitchell pursued him with the knife.
Eddie said he ran to get Mitchell away from his mother and young son who were inside the house they shared.
I was dying. I was about to close my eyesVictim Eddie Mitchell
He said: ‘I thought “I’ve got to get away from him”. I thought he’d already killed me.’
As Eddie ran into the street he tried to use parked and passing cars to block Mitchell’s approach but was eventually pushed to the ground.
Eddie suffered slashes to his hands as he struggled in vain to stop Mitchell forcing the knife into his chest.
The court heard Mitchell was aiming for his heart and witnesses heard him shout he wanted to kill Eddie.
Mitchell repeatedly plunged the knife into Eddie’s chest as his victim forced the blade back out several times.
But Eddie grew exhausted and finally stopped struggling – just as two men wrestled Mitchell off him.
Eddie suffered superficial wounds to his chest but the wounds on his hands have ended his electrician career.
He has since been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety.
Eddie added: ‘He was trying to stick the knife in my chest.
‘I was so knackered. That was my last one, I’d been fighting for so long I’d lost so much blood and let go of the knife.
‘He stuck it straight in my chest – that’s when people jumped on him. I was dying. I was about to close my eyes.’
Eddie said he is thankful to the two strangers, David Winter and John Johnson, who tackled Mitchell.
Judge Sarah Munro QC commended the pair for stopping further tragedy.
She added witnesses heard Mitchell – whose mother died months before he launched the attack – say: ‘He cursed my family. I’ve been sent by St Michael of Hell’s Angels to kill.’
Mr Jones said Mitchell, of Northern Parade, told officers when he was arrested he thought Eddie was the devil.
‘I’ve got to kill the demon,’ Mr Jones said. ‘He’s the devil, he cursed me and that’s why I’ve got to kill him.’
The court heard Mitchell had told his father he believed Eddie had taken out a £3.5m contract on his head.
Tragically, Mitchell’s family had begun to try and get help for his delusions on the day of the attack, December 7.
Judge Munro jailed Mitchell for life with a minimum term of six years and eight months and said she ‘agonised’ over the decision.
She said: ‘You have a history of drug and drink-fuelled violence. You have very little realistic prospect of giving up cannabis without assistance and it would be hard to monitor your drug use in the community.’
The court heard Mitchell had a ‘guarded approach’ when talking to doctors about his addiction.
This was one of the reasons Judge Munro imposed a life term.
The court heard the friends had been drinking together the night before.
Judge Munro added: ‘You were saying to him you had given up drink and cannabis and were complaining of feeling paranoid. In fact if you had given up it was a matter of days at most if not hours.’
Mitchell has 23 court appearances for 40 offences. He pleaded guilty to attempted murder.
The court heard Mitchell had broken up with his partner in 2005 and he was admitted to hospital, admitting he was smoking £100 a week of cannabis.
Yogain Chandarana, defending, said Mitchell carried out the attack ‘in the haze of psychosis’.
He said Mitchell told him: ‘I was not right in the head at that time. I feel devastated for him. I wake up thinking about him and what I did. If I could see him I would cry my eyes out.’
Mr Chandarana added Mitchell told him he would give up cannabis.
Pair helped to save stabbing victim
STAB victim Eddie Mitchell was saved thanks to his quick dash from his attacker and the two men who wrestled off his assailant.
Detective Constable Mark Brockman, investigating officer, praised John Johnson and David Winter.
He said: ‘I’m fully confident that in this case they have prevented Eddie Mitchell from dying. I would like to express my thanks to them.’
He added police do not advocate people putting themselves at risk.
Eddie, 35, also said he thanked the pair for saving his life.
Det Con Brockman attended the scene shortly after the 999 call and saw the case through to court.
He added: ‘The sentence suitably reflects the issues that this has caused to the injured party Eddie Mitchell and how it’s affected his life and will affect his life for the rest of the time he’s alive.’