A teenager who set his dog onto a man who he then stabbed at least five times with two large knives in a revenge attack has received an extended custodial sentence as a “dangerous” offender.

Taylor Bentham, then 18, left his victim, a man celebrating his 29th birthday with his girlfriend and another woman, suffering life-threatening and life-changing injuries in the attack on a rough path, off Bent House Lane, near the River Wear in Durham, on Good Friday, April 7, last year.

Newcastle Crown Court heard it was only the “prompt, calm and effective” first-aid of a passer-by with former services experience, who helped to stem the blood loss, followed by similar actions of an air ambulance paramedic arriving at the scene, that probably saved the victim’s life.

The paramedic gave him an on-scene blood transfusion and clotting medication, before he was flown to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary for further emergency treatment.

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He received a further blood transfusion and underwent surgery in which he had to have part of his bowel removed as one of the stab wounds pierced his large intestines.

The victim was released after four days in hospital, but the court heard he has suffered long-term physical and mental health issues since and although he did, at one stage, attempt to return to his job as a ground worker, he was unable to continue in work.

Apart from lingering physical health problems, affecting his daily independent living, he has received therapy for chronic post-traumatic stress disorder, which continues to affect him.

Paul Rooney, prosecuting, said there was a background between the pair, over Bentham’s previous “inappropriate touching and text messaging” of the man’s girlfriend.

The Northern Echo: Taylor Bentham starting an extended determinate sentence including upto eight years and three

As the victim, his girlfriend and another female friend were returning from an afternoon drink in the Rose Tree pub, to celebrate his birthday, the man went to assist a stricken motorcyclist who had come off his bike on a dirt path known locally as ‘The Trod’.

When the motorcyclist lifted his balaclava, the man could see it was Bentham, with whom there had been previous “ill-feeling”.

Mr Rooney said words were exchanged between the pair and a short fight followed which the man got the better of, but, when it finished he reached out his hand to Bentham, who refused to shake and said, threateningly: “Watch what happens to you”.

He got back on his motorcycle and repeated the threat: “Watch what f***ing happens to you.”

Bentham was seen in nearby Cuthbert Avenue, on the Sherburn Road Estate, Durham, where he called into his grandmother’s home and armed himself with two large kitchen knives.

He emerged with the knives and his large mastiff-type dog returning to the track off Bent House Lane.

When his victim saw the aggressive-looking dog and the armed Bentham returning he tried to flee, jumping into a field, crawling under a hedge and running around a parked VW van.

But the dog caught up with him and jumped up, biting his arm, shoulder and crotch area, bringing him to ground.

Bentham then arrived and sat astride the injured man and stabbed him several times, in the leg, the upper and lower abdomen, as well as twice in the buttocks.

Mr Rooney said as Bentham’s cousin arrived at the scene to try to tell him to stop, he ended the attack and fled with his dog.

The victim’s panic-stricken girlfriend sought help from people out walking nearby, one of whom began to try to stem the blood loss.

Once the air ambulance arrived, within 20 minutes of being alerted, further treatment was given in situ, which continued later at the RVI.

A pathologist later examined the injuries and stated that had one of the abdominal stab wounds been 1cm either side, vital blood vessels would have been severed, which would probably have proved fatal.

Bentham was located, arrested and interviewed twice the following day, during which he chose to answer none of the police questions.

The now 19-year-old, of Cuthbert Avenue, was charged with attempted murder, which he denied, but he admitted other offences of wounding with intent, being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control and two counts of possessing an offensive weapon.

Following a five-day trial at the court, last October, he was found not guilty of attempted murder, but sentence on the other charges which the defendant admitted was adjourned to allow for psychiatric reports.

The long-delayed sentencing hearing, today (Tuesday May 14), heard an impact statement read by the victim’s mother, on his behalf.

In it he said the attack has left him “a shadow” of his former self, both physically and mentally.

He is now nervous going out and constantly looks over his shoulder.

The victim also outlined the ongoing treatment he is receiving dealing with the after-effects of his injuries and mental scars, and the fact he can no longer work, relying on his family for support.

Mark Styles, for Bentham, referred to letters handed to the court on his behalf by family members and his girlfriend, as well as the contents of the psychiatric report.

Mr Styles said the defendant had a difficult upbringing, and suffers with his own mental health difficulties, which are exacerbated by his drug misuse, which began following the death of a relation.

The defendant appeared at the hearing via video link from Durham Prison, where he has been on remand in custody throughout proceedings.

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Judge Tim Gittins told Bentham but for the medical intervention at the scene and in hospital he could have been answering for inflicting fatal injuries.

The judge said the issue should have ended with the brief skirmish on the river banks, which the defendant got the worse of, that afternoon.

“But you refused to shake his hand when offered and went away on your bike clearly prefacing what you were going to do, saying: ‘Just watch what f***ing happens to you’.”

The judge said only two minutes later Bentham returned armed with the knives and encouraged it to attack the victim.

He said it was fortunate that the paramedics reached the scene so quickly following the attack.

“In evidence you sought to blame the victim for the incident and minimise the number of blows and took limited responsibility for bringing and setting your dog on him, blaming your behaviour on the taking of drugs.

“You took those drugs voluntarily.”

But the judge said it was the defendant’s, “temper and inability to take to take the humiliation of being ‘bested’ in a fair fight that started this tragic turn of events.”

He told Bentham what he did continues to affect his victim on a daily basis and may do so for the rest of his life.

Sentencing him as, “a dangerous offender”, Judge Gittins imposed a sentence of eight years and three months in a young offenders’ institution, of which the defendant must serve at least two-thirds.

Upon his release, at the behest of the Parole Board, or at the end of the eight years and three months, he will be subject to four years extended licence period.

See more court stories from The Northern Echo, by clicking here

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Attempted murder trial of Durham man Taylor Bentham in Newcastle

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Bentham was also banned from having ownership or custody of a dog for 20 years and a destruction order was made for the dog involved in the attack, which has been kennelled at a cost of £4,501 by Durham Police since the incident.

The judge said both were justifiable measures in a case where a dog was used, “as a weapon” in such a revenge attack.

Judge Gittins also made a formal judge's commendation, plus a "modest" award of a sum of £250 from public funds for the "prompt, calm and effective first-aid" delivered to the victim in "traumatic circumstances" by the passing member of the public.