A REFUGEE who fled Syria with his family has been jailed for two years for a “ferocious” knife attack on a man in Chester.
Fahed Shamery, 35, was detained and tortured in the war-torn country before escaping to the UK with his wife and two children under a United Nations resettlement scheme.
But just two months after moving to Cadnant Close in Blacon he found himself in an altercation with another resident, Tomasz Podstawka, on June 3 this year.
He pleaded guilty to wounding on the basis that he initially acted in self-defence – but then overreacted by using a kitchen knife to stab the victim multiple times.
Chester Crown Court heard the incident happened in the living room and back yard of Shamery’s home and was witnessed by his family and “terrified” members of the public.
Sentencing, Judge Nicholas Woodward said: “The [injury] photos I’ve seen demonstrate the ferocity of the attack.
“Your victim received multiple severe stab wounds and you committed the offence after you had been drinking alcohol.
“Your victim has clearly suffered serious injury and pain.
“He has also suffered psychological damage and members of the public who witnessed your actions were terrified by what they saw.”
The court heard Shamery had been subjected to “detention and torture” in Syria and was injured in an explosion, leaving him with scars.
A citizen of previous good character, he had been a family man who ran his own business in his native country before and during the war.
Nicholas Williams, prosecuting, told the court Shamery had suggested his nightmarish experiences might explain his violent reaction on the day of the offence.
An altercation took place in the living room, where Mr Podstawka claimed the defendant reacted by striking him with a knife.
“He ran outside to make his escape,” Mr Williams said. “But he ended up in the back yard of the property from which there was no way out.
“He was assaulted on a number of further occasions by the defendant with a knife, who was slashing him to the top of the head, to the bicep, and also a stab wound to the armpit.”
Neighbours witnessed the attack and called the police. Shamery, who was said to be covered in blood, was then arrested.
Officers attempted to stem the bleeding from Mr Podstawka’s wounds before paramedics swiftly arrived to take over. He was treated for a number of injuries and later discharged.
Shamery reportedly told police and experts compiling psychiatric assessments that his actions would be “unremarkable” and “normal culture” in Syria.
A report on him concluded he was suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), although the judge stated that this may explain the initial reaction but not the sustained attack.
He added: “You believe your actions in that courtyard were not unreasonable and would have raised little complaint in Syria.
“I find it difficult to believe that attacking a person in such a savage manner with a knife would be treated almost as a matter of indifference in Syria.
“You must understand that in this country it’s a serious crime and must be dealt with accordingly.”
Michael Whitty, defending, said Shamery had been struggling with prison life since his arrest and his wife had been left to raise two children in a foreign country.
He also stressed the horrific events that had led to the defendant and his family being forced to flee their home country.
“He experienced detention, torture and the deaths of people close to him; things we can barely imagine,” Mr Whitty said.
“Until recently he was a hard-working family man in Syria who had employees.
“These things were taken from him before he left.”
The judge accepted the significant traumas suffered by Shamery and his family. But he agreed with an expert assessment that the defendant presented a “high level risk” to the public.
“You were adjusting from life in a war zone to a new country and culture with which you were unfamiliar,” the judge said.
“I accept that the incident started by you acting in order to defend yourself.
“However, it was what happened outside the house when you had your victim trapped in a back yard and you used a long-bladed kitchen knife to subject him to a sustained and prolonged attack that took place in full view of members of your family and the local community.”