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Man jailed for drunkenly stabbing friend in Thornton Heath flat

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A DRUNKEN pensioner who almost stabbed one of his best friends to death has been jailed.

George Gonga, 67, plunged a knife into Dilip Patel's chest at his friend's Bensham Lane flat in Thornton Heath after a drinking binge.

Gonga, who Mr Patel was allowing to stay at his home as a guest, launched the near-fatal attack after being told to leave because his increasingly erratic behaviour was alarming neighbours.

So severe was the wounding that medics had to revive Mr Patel twice after he lost almost two pints of blood.

Sentencing Gonga at Croydon Crown Court on Friday, Judge Nicholas Ainley said: "This is knife crime. It is knife crime while committed under the influence of alcohol which could have been fatal to Mr Patel.

"His heart stopped twice and one of his chest arteries had been severed right from the stab wound to the centre of his chest.

"Thankfully he has recovered."

Sally Hobson, defending, said Gonga admitted having an alcohol problem but was actively seeking help for it while in custody.

The knife-wielding pensioner was given 20 months behind bars last Friday, which will see him released after ten months on good behaviour following his guilty plea to wounding with intent

Hamish Reid, prosecuting, said: "Police were contacted by the London Ambulance Service to a report of a man being stabbed.

"The victim was slumped in the bedroom with a stab wound to the chest with blood all over him. Mr Gonga was present.

"Mr Gonga's behaviour caused discomfort to neighbours and [Mr Patel] wanted him to leave.

"Mr Patel had no recollections of the attack. He remembers an argument but then remembers nothing until waking up in hospital."

The court was told the victim has recovered since the June 28 stabbing and is now on holiday in America.

A statement made by a former neighbour of Gonga read to the court expressed "shock" at the pensioner's actions because "everybody loved George". He had made the call to police after stabbing his friend.

Sally Hobson, defending, said: "This is a matter for which he is extremely remorseful and it is in very, very sad circumstances that he finds himself here today.

"He knows the impact that this will have on his life.

"He knows he can't begin drinking again and he is determined not to."

The judge refused Miss Hobson's request that Gonga be freed and instead given a two-year suspended sentence.

Man jailed for drunkenly stabbing friend in Thornton Heath flat


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