A 19-YEAR-OLD man has been sentenced to 14 years behind bars after he was found guilty of a homophobic stabbing at a well-known gay meeting spot in Chester.
Floyd Evans, of Linenhall Mews, Stanley Street, Chester, was found not guilty of attempted murder but guilty of wounding with intent at his trial in April.
Evans attacked Francisco Nascimento on October 21 last year at the top of the steps to the City Walls behind Iceland’s car park on Frodsham Street leaving Mr Nascimento fighting for his life.
Yesterday at Chester Crown Court Evans was sentenced to 14 years in a young offenders’ institute for what the Recorder of Chester Judge Elgan Edwards called a “dreadful offence”.
John Philpotts, prosecuting, read out a victim impact statement written by Mr Nascimento who, said Mr Philpotts, was having nightmares and suffering from anxiety and feelings of paranoia after the attack.
He said if he is in town and sees someone dressed similarly to his attacker he becomes frightened.
Mr Philpotts said Mr Nascimento, who works as a cleaner, had been a very active person but since the attack had not been able to go swimming, partly because of the scarring on his chest but also because he gets feelings of breathlessness and pain in his arms which has also affected how often he has been able to work.
Mr Philpotts said this was a serious case because the injury inflicted was unusually serious, was motivated because of Mr Nascimento’s sexual orientation and was premeditated.
In mitigation, Peter Moss, defending, said Evans’ young age had to be taken into account during sentencing. He had no similar previous convictions for violence and said the attack was not homophobic.
Mr Moss said: “Both Mr Nascimento and [his friend] Gareth Davies said they had no reason to believe it was a homophobic attack because they were just standing there holding their shopping.”
Mr Moss also said Evans’ brother was gay and he had told the trial Evans was not homophobic.
During sentencing, Judge Edwards rejected the defence’s argument saying the location and premeditation of the attack pointed to a hate crime.
He told Evans: “What you did that night was arm yourself with a knife, wandered around the streets of Chester and then found your way deliberately to the Walls to the point which you knew was a meeting point for gay men and plunged a knife into Mr Nascimento’s chest causing him a grave injury.
“All Mr Nascimento was doing was talking to his friend and he ended up nearly dead as a result of your actions.”
The court had previously heard that Mr Nascimento, who moved from Brazil to Chester nine years ago, had been shopping in the Tesco store on Frodsham Street before he bumped into a friend, Gareth Davies, on the city walls.
The pair had been talking for about 40 minutes before Evans went down the steps where he stopped briefly before turning around and coming back up.
The court heard that this was a signal used by gay men at the location.
After a short conversation with Mr Davies, Evans struck Mr Nascimento to the chest before running off in the direction of King Charles Tower.
The judge, quoting Mr Nascimento’s remarks, said: “I felt something hurt and I was suffocating. I started bleeding. I was stabbed. I thought I was going to die.”
Mr Nascimento was rushed to hospital in Liverpool where he was given life-saving surgery.
The court heard Evans, who had denied the charges throughout, had been drinking and remembered going into Tesco’s but did not recall anything after that until the following day.
Evans, who has appeared before the courts on 18 previous occasions and had also threatened to stab police officers on two separate occasions, told the trial he did not stab anyone and that he was not anti-gay, adding his brother was gay and he was perfectly happy with that.
See full story in the Chester Leader