A MAN with a history of weapon assaults has been jailed for eight years for a pub stabbing.

But as a judge considers Gavin Watkins poses a risk of causing serious future harm, he imposed an extended determinate sentence.

It means he must serve at least two-thirds of the sentence before he can apply to the Parole Board for release, and will then be subject to four-years’ extended licence.

The sentence was imposed for an attack with an unknown bladed weapon in the Lambton Arms, Chester-le-Street, on October 26.

Durham Crown Court heard it followed an earlier confrontation in the gents’ toilets where Watkins acted provocatively and the other man either pushed or struck him and told him to, “get out of my face.”

Ian West, prosecuting, said the middle-aged man then went to return to the table where he was drinking with his partner and friends.

But he was again followed by Watkins, who took something from his pocket, before inflicting three short blows with a sharp implement, the first two from behind.

The victim suffered short stab wounds to the back of his thigh, to his buttock and to the side of his torso, for which he required hospital treatment.

Watkins fled the pub and by the time of his arrest, three days later, had discarded the bladed implement.

He made no comment in interview, and although he later accepted causing the injuries, he denied wounding with intent and possessing an offensive weapon.

Watkins, 26, of Wynyard, Chester-le-Street, chose not to give evidence at his trial, but his barrister, Dan Cordey, told the jury he was fearful having been punched moments before the attack.

But, the jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts on both charges.

Mr Cordey told the sentencing hearing Watkins had tried to turn his life around after his last sentence and found work as a fishmonger, but was still, “clearly drinking too much.”

On that night he said Watkins had not gone out looking for trouble.

But, Judge Christopher Prince said Watkins chose to go armed and to drink several pints of lager, before “making a nuisance” of himself.

Passing the extended sentence, Judger Prince told Watkins: “There is a pattern of behaviour by you demonstrating the use of weapons, whether a baseball bat, a brick, or, as here, a knife.”