A MAN with few previous convictions is beginning a five-year jail sentence for striking two men in a night club while holding a craft knife blade he secreted onto the premises.

Cain French landed what appeared to be straight forward punches to the face of both men, cousins of each other, who approached his party to remonstrate with them after a woman in their company was allegedly groped in Chaplin’s, Consett, late on November 19 last year.

Durham Crown Court heard neither victim initially realised they had been cut, as they were unaware French was holding the blade when the blows were delivered.

French told police he must have been holding a bottle top when he threw the punches.

But, appearing at a recent plea hearing, he confessed from the dock that he was actually carrying the knife blade at the time.

One victim required up to ten stitches to his facial cut and remains scarred, while his cousin needed four stitches to a cut near his lips, while he also suffered a black eye.

French, 21, of Manor Drive, Catchgate, near Stanley, admitted two counts of wounding with intent.

Joanne Kidd, prosecuting, said his first court appearance was only two years ago, for assault, since when he has served a 16-week prison sentence following two separate convictions for carrying offensive weapons.

David Lamb, mitigating, said French did not seek to, “pull the wool over” a potential jury’s eyes by stringing out his case at trial, and made immediate admissions at court to the more serious wounding charge, including the element of intent.

“He’s relatively lightly convicted for a man standing at the threshold of a significant custodial sentence, given that he had not offended until a couple of years ago.”

Jailing him, Recorder Ray Singh said carrying such weapons, French appeared to have had “little thought” of what the outcome might be if he used them, as he did on the night in question.