A MAN who carried out a knife attack at the home of his then partner was warned he is facing a prison sentence.

But a judge told Charlie Nathan Peter Court-Smithers that the only question will be the length of that sentence, which will be passed once the Probation Service assesses his “dangerousness”.

The 24-year-old defendant, of Hambleton Road, Coundon, near Bishop Auckland, previously denied charges of wounding with intent and assault causing actual bodily harm.

Those allegations stem from an incident at the house in Faraday Street, Ferryhill, in the early hours of Saturday October 13, last year.

Court-Smithers is said to have confronted another man and stabbed him on the shoulder and torso, shortly after 2am. He is also said to have assaulted his partner.

The 20-year-old stabbing victim then staggered into the street and flagged down a passing police vehicle, before being taken to hospital where he underwent surgery on his injuries.

Police arrested Court-Smithers less than two hours later and he denied responsibility for the stabbing, putting in not guilty pleas on his first appearance at Durham Crown Court, on November 23.

The case was adjourned for a trial of up to four days, to be heard at the court this week.

But, on the scheduled opening day of the trial, the main prosecution witness was not present at court.

Following the issue of a witness warrant, she was brought to court, and, at the start of the afternoon session, the defendant was produced from the cells and changed his plea to guilty to the wounding with intent charge.

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said in those circumstances the Crown was content to allow the assault causing actual bodily harm count, “lie on the file”, at the conclusion of the case.

David Callan, for Court-Smithers, told the court he would prefer to learn his fate immediately.

But, Judge Jonathan Carroll decided to adjourn sentencing until after the preparation of a background report on Court-Smithers, mainly to assess his perceived “dangerousness”, if he is considered as someone who may cause serious future harm.

Judge Carroll told the defendant: “Clearly, the only outcome is going to be a custodial sentence and the only reason for a report is to assess ‘dangerousness’.

“You have pleaded guilty to a section 18 wounding where you engaged in the stabbing of your victim.

“It’s clearly a very serious offence and a custodial sentence is absolutely inevitable.

“The only question is how long and what form of sentence it is.”

Judge Carroll adjourned sentence until April 1 and remanded Court-Smithers back to custody in the meantime.

He will be sentenced via video link to court from nearby Durham Prison.