A man who slashed a stranger across the throat in an unprovoked bar attack has been made the subject of a secure hospital order as part of a life sentence.

Paranoid Rory Witten, who had been on a solo pub crawl around Sunderland city centre, suddenly took out a knife from his coat pocket and attacked a man standing near him talking to staff and the DJ at Bar Bloo, in Derwent Street, shortly before 8pm on Sunday February 13, last year.

 The 48-year-old victim was slashed across the throat and stabbed in the back of the neck, without a word having been spoken between the pair.

He lost two litres of blood and it was only swift surgical attention at hospital which saved his life, but he is still said to have physical and psychological scars arising from the attack.

Read more: Seaham man convicted of attempted murder in Bar Bloo, Sunderland

Witten, 41, of Stavordale Street, Seaham, who was initially forcibly removed from the bar, was arrested within 24 hours with the use of CCTV and forensic evidence.

He denied attempted murder and possession of a bladed article, but he was found guilty of both counts after a trial at Newcastle Crown Court, in October, last year.

The Northern Echo: Rory Witten carried out the unprovoked stabbing on another drinker at Bar Bloo, Sunderland, in

Witten has since undergone psychiatric and psychological examination to assess his mental health, ahead of a sentencing hearing.

Following several interim hospital orders being passed awaiting the final assessments, Witten was finally sentenced back at the court, on Monday (October 9).

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The trial judge, Mr Justice Stephen Morris, the outbreak of unexpected violence in the bar as, “a vicious and wholly unprovoked attack for which no explanation has been offered.”

He said the victim was, “extremely lucky to have survived”, adding that that was only due to the “prompt and effective surgery” he received at the time.

The judge said: “He was subject to a shocking, life-threatening attack.

“This was an offence of substantial gravity.”

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As he considers Witten poses “a serious risk of harm to the public”, the judge passed a life sentence with a minimum term of 15 years and four months, but running in conjunction with a “hybrid” hospital order.

It means the defendant will be held in a secure hospital unless he is considered well enough, within the period of the minimum term, to be moved to serve the remainder of the sentence in prison.

Due to time served in custody by Witten, the minimum term has now been reduced to 13 years, eight months and nine days.