'Just three years in jail for crazed knifeman who left me fighting for my life is nowhere near long enough'
Just over a year ago Corie Mawhinney was a young man enjoying a normal night out in the company of his girlfriend.
Out of the blue the then 17-year-old was attacked by a crazed man he had never met brandishing two kitchen knives.
His attacker, 24-year-old Sean Conway, screamed threats and lunged at him and stabbed him numerous times, almost killing him.
He's since been jailed for six years – a sentence his victim feels is not long enough.
The nightmare began when unbeknownst to Mr Mawhinney, he and Conway attended the same nightclub in Magherafelt in April last year.
Conway was on a drinking binge of vodka, wine and shots, which was compounded by a cocktail of prescription drugs including two different types of anti-depressants, an anti-psychotic drug and a drug designed to counter anxiety.
Itching for a fight, Conway had had an altercation with another man earlier and left the club to go to his house, but returned with two knives.
Deranged with drink and drugs, Conway lashed out at Mr Mawhinney and shouted that he was going to kill him.
Mr Mawhinney was stabbed a total of five times, twice in the chest, twice in his right arm and once below his left shoulder.
The assault was so vicious Conway actually pushed a knife deep enough into Mr Mawhinney that his liver was sliced and nerves in his arm damaged.
Miraculously, Mr Mawhinney survived this brutal assault, and earlier this week, a court in Londonderrry sentenced Conway to three years behind bars and a further three years on licence.
But Mr Mawhinney, who has been left scarred, feels the sentence is inadequate.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, he said: "I could have died and if it wasn't for the ambulance workers that night, who were incredible, I might not have made it, and that is a scary thought.
"I don't think that three years behind bars for almost killing someone is enough, there is no excuse for what he did to me.
"I had never met, seen or spoken to him before in my life and yet I almost lost my life at his hands, and he gets three years for it. I don't think many people would think that was enough.
"I don't remember too much about the night because he attacked me from behind, so I didn't even see him coming.
"I know I stumbled around a bit after but I fell to the ground and was unconscious and didn't really come around until I was in the ambulance.
"The ambulance staff were working on me as they rushed me to Antrim Area Hospital and they kept talking to me to reassure me and to keep me conscious, but I was really scared.
"I knew I had been badly hurt but it wasn't until I was moved to the Royal Victoria the next day that I realised just how bad it was. I spent a week in hospital then, and another week later on, and two more days after that, but I still have to go to the Ulster Hospital for regular appointments for the nerve damage done to my hand."
The young man, who is serving an apprenticeship as a welder, was left emotionally scarred by the attack too, but is determined not to let Conway's vicious assault dominate the rest of his life.
"The first time I actually saw him was at the first court appearance a couple of weeks ago.
"It was weird sitting there looking across at this man I had never met before who tried to kill me," said Mr Mawhinney.
"I couldn't tell what he was thinking, sitting there.
"He didn't look too sorry for me but he did look sorry for himself, and looked like he really didn't want to go to jail.
"I was scared that I would die at the time and I didn't go out at all since it happened last April.
"But about two weeks ago I decided I wasn't going to stay at home any more because that meant he was getting the better of me – and I won't let that happen.
"I went out and I was with my friends and my girlfriend and we had a good night.
"Now I am going to get on with the rest of my life, and he can sit there in his jail cell."