Sheffield stabbing victims slam sentence handed to their attacker

Two stabbing victims who were left scarred for life after being attacked on a night out in Sheffield have spoken out about the impact knife crime as had on them - as police launch a week-long campaign.

Monday, 12th February 2018, 4:37 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th February 2018, 10:10 am
Leon Cheslett (Pic: Charlotte Baxter Photography)

Leon Cheslett, 20, and Jake Lee, 25, were both slashed following altercations with 23-year-old Zak Pywell at the Chicken Stop takeaway on the corner of Division Street and Carver Street in November 2016.

Leon was slashed across his face, arm, shoulder and stomach after he went to help Jake Lee who had been stabbed in the kidneys by Pywell.

Jake Lee. Picture courtesy: Andy Kershaw/BBC.

Pywell, of Birley Spa Lane, Hackenthorpe, was jailed for four years and three months at Sheffield Crown Court last month after admitting wounding, possession of a bladed article and affray - which Mr Lee described as "a joke".

He said: "The sentence he got is an invitation for people to commit knife crime. It's a joke - we are talking about somebody who has stabbed two people who didn't know each other.

"He never thought about us two and he didn't even think about himself before he did it. He won't even serve four years three months - if he keeps his head down he'll be out in two."

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Man scarred for life in horrific Sheffield city centre attack
Det Supt Una Jennings.

Mr Lee, an emergency medical technician for Event Medical Services, had gone into the takeaway after a night out at Viper Rooms on Carver Street.

He said: "I don't remember much about what happened other than getting up and somebody saying I'd been stabbed.

"It's all a bit of a big blur but it's the aftermath. It's affected me in different ways but I can't change the situation now - it's something I have got to learn to live with and get on with my life."

Pywell fled the shop following the attack but ran into Mr Cheslett who was waiting for a taxi outside.

Jake Lee. Picture courtesy: Andy Kershaw/BBC.

The Sheffield Hallam University student was left with a horrific slash to his face following the incident.

He said: "I don't have the strongest memory of it because of the shock and adrenaline but Zak ran into me and we had a bit of a confrontation and he stabbed me four times down the left-hand side of my face and body as I tried to protect myself.

"People said it all happened in just seconds and I was lying on the floor in blood. I remember at one point I was lying there and I thought there was so much blood and I remember thinking I needed an ambulance."

Mr Cheslett, who was a second year events management student at the time of the attack, said he had moved back to his parents' home in Stockport for a year following the incident.

Det Supt Una Jennings.

He is due to return to Sheffield in September for the final year of this course.

He had plastic surgery on his face following the attack, which left him with 37 stitches across his face.

In his victim impact statement Mr Cheslett said: "I felt that the only thing I would be judged upon would be my facial scar. Unfortunately, this feeling is something I will have to endure going forward in every future job opportunity and despite the best encouragement from friends and family, it is hard for anyone to deny that it won’t set me back in my future.

"My attacker has taken away part of my strong, confident personality, something that I will struggle to regain, long after the events of that night no longer affect them. They are able to one day move on and I will always wear their mistake across my face."

The men's comments come as South Yorkshire Police takes part in Operation Sceptre - a nationwide campaign to reduce the number of knife crimes.

Det Supt Una Jennings, South Yorkshire Police's force lead for armed criminality, said: "Knife crime is an issue for us in South Yorkshire but we have to set it in context - we have seen a rise nationally across all 43 police forces across the country.

"I suppose the key issue for me is to get away from statistics and focus on the stories behind them. One knife crime is one too many as far as I'm concerned. I have investigated murders myself where lives have been destroyed by knife crime so I am committed to sorting this."