Police said it was “sheer luck” the victim of an unprovoked bar-room knife attack survived, following the imposition of a life sentence on the perpetrator.

Rory Mark Witten suddenly pulled a knife from his coat pocket and slashed the complete stranger across the throat, before stabbing him in the back, at Bar Bloo, in Derwent Street, Sunderland, on Sunday February 13, last year.

When police arrived at the scene they discovered the 48-year-old victim had suffered serious knife injuries to both the neck and back, causing heavy blood loss.

He was taken to hospital in a critical condition and his life was only saved due to the rapid medical intervention during surgery.

Read more: Attempted murder after stabbing at Bar Bloo in Sunderland

But Newcastle Crown Court was told he has been left with both long-term physical and psychological scars as a result of the unforeseen attack.

An investigation was immediately launched to locate the knife attacker, who had been forcibly removed from the pub and then fled the scene on foot shortly before police arrived.

Detectives on the case immediately trawled hours of CCTV footage and used forensic evidence to track down the offender, 41-year-old Witten, of Stavordale Street, in Seaham, within 24 hours of the incident.

He was arrested and went on to be charged with attempted murder and possession of a bladed article.

Although he repeatedly denied involvement in the attack, he was found guilty of both offences by a jury following a week-long trial at the court, last October.

He was remanded in custody ahead of sentencing, which followed conclusion of psychiatric reports.

As reported in The Northern Echo, earlier this week, he appeared back before the court where the trial judge, Mr Justice Stephen Morris imposed a life sentence with a hybrid hospital order.

Read more: Seaham man made subject of hospital order for bar stabbing

 The minimum term for the life sentence was put at 15 years and four months, but with time served in custody prior to the hearing, it was reduced to 13 years, eight months and nine days.

Should he be considered well enough to be allowed to leave hospital during the period of the minimum term, he will be transferred to spend the remainder of the sentence in prison.

Speaking after the sentencing hearing, Detective Sergeant John Baines, who led the Northumbria Police investigation following the incident, said: “First and foremost, I would like to commend the victim in this case for their continued bravery and composure during complex and lengthy criminal proceedings.

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“This was an absolutely horrendous attack with levels of violence shown that no-one should ever be subjected to, let alone to someone who is a complete stranger and had done nothing to provoke this type of response.

“It was only right that Witten was handed a life sentence for his horrific behaviour that night, and he will now have plenty of time to reflect on this behind bars.

“Really, it is sheer luck that the victim in this case was able to pull through.

Read next:

Seaham man convicted of attempted murder in Bar Bloo, Sunderland

Seaham man Rory Witten guilty of stabbing in Bar Bloo, Sunderland

Seaham man to be sentenced for Sunderland bar stabbing in October

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“However, both the mental and some of the physical effects of Witten’s shocking actions will no doubt stay with him for the rest of his life.

“Overall, this was a real team effort to bring Witten to justice and once again I would like to thank all of the officers and staff involved in this case.

“There is absolutely no place for violence of any kind in our communities and we will continue to do everything we can to put offenders before the courts and bring effective justice against them.”