Belfast Telegraph

Man's face slashed in latest in surge of knife-related crime

By Allan Preston

A man in north Belfast suffered slash wounds to his face after being seriously assaulted in the early hours of New Year's Day.

The 24-year-old was found badly injured in an entry off Glencairn Way shortly after 5am yesterday, police said.

Detectives believe the victim was attacked by another man.

He was taken to hospital with injuries that are not believed to be life-threatening.

While the type of weapon used in the attack is not yet known for certain, TUV councillor for the area Jolene Bunting said she was concerned about an increase in knife crime.

"It's scary to think about," she added. "It could have been fatal. I have heard of about four or five stabbing incidents in that area over the past year, so it is very worrying."

Ms Bunting said she intended to speak to young people in the area in the coming days to raise awareness of the deadly consequences that carrying knives can have.

The attack followed a month in which multiple stabbing attacks were reported across Belfast.

Knife crime has now become an all-too-familiar problem in Northern Ireland, with around two stabbing-related incidents reported every single day.

In November 2015, official statistics from the PSNI showed that in a 12-month period to September that year, knives or "sharp instruments" were used in 846 violent crimes, including murder, attempted murder, assault, robbery and rape.

The figures revealed that bladed weapons were used in 540 vicious assaults, where grievous or actual bodily harm is caused to the victims.

Such items were also used in 35% of attempted murders (37), 35% of murders (8) and 20% of robberies (179).

Their has been a spate of knife crime recently. Two men in their twenties were treated for stab injuries on Boxing Day after being attacked by a "lone armed man" in the Westlink area of west Belfast.

Days later, on Thursday, a 24-year-old man was charged with attempted murder after a stabbing incident on the Waveney Road area of Ballymena October 29.

And at the end of October, a man in his thirties from west Belfast had to be rushed to hospital and was left in a "very serious condition" after being stabbed in the Hawthorn Street area.

Knife crime legislation was last introduced in Stormont in 2010 by the Justice Minister David Ford as part of his Justice Bill.

The legislation included tough new measures such as a four-year sentence for anyone caught in possession of a knife on school premises, or armed with an offensive weapon with intent to commit an offence.

The UKIP MLA David McNarry has previously called for even tougher sanctions, suggesting an automatic prison sentenced for anyone caught carrying a knife for a second time.

Belfast Telegraph


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