A man who was wrongly targeted in a “chilling” revenge attack today revealed: “I thought I was going to die.”
Dad-of-two Richard Annesley, 31, was left centimetres from death after he was stabbed by a frenzied attacker who had been released from jail only the day before.
Brutal Richard Clements, who had been serving time for another assault, armed himself with three knives before launching his attack.
Clements, 27, had returned to his home in nearby Palatine Road, Blackpool, to retrieve the blades after a row outside the Hotel and Apartments Social club on Coronation Street, where he had been refused entry.
He mistook dad-of-two Mr Annesley for a man he had argued with and plunged a knife into his side, piercing through his coat, jumper and a shirt.
The victim needed stitches to three separate wounds in his intestines caused by the blade.
I thought he was going to shake my hand but he just stabbed me.
Speaking after Preston Crown Court jailed Clements for a minimum of nine years, Mr Annesley said: “It all happened so quickly that I didn’t see anything.
“I was playing snooker with a few friends and went outside for a cigarette when this complete stranger came out of nowhere.
“I thought he was going to shake my hand but he just stabbed me.
“I fainted on the floor and I thought I was going to die.
“I turned purple and stopped breathing. If it wasn’t for my friend he would have stabbed me again.”
Mr Annesley, who has another child on the way, added: “I have a terrible scar.
“It has ruined my life. I don’t go swimming with my kids.
“I wake up scared all the time and I’m always looking over my shoulder.
“But he (Clements) has got his time. He has got what he deserves.”
The court heard Mr Annesley was “lucky” to be alive following the attack on January 9 last year.
Clements was in breach of his licence, having been released from prison the day before, when he went to the club.
The victim then ran to a nearby takeaway where he collapsed.
In a victim statement read out to the court Mr Annesley said: “If the knife had gone in just a few centimetres away, I might no longer be here.”
Judge Heather Lloyd said Clements had shown no remorse for his shocking crime.
“This was an act of retribution and you got the wrong man,” the judge added.
“He (Mr Annesley )is lucky it wasn’t more serious. He is lucky it wasn’t fatal.
“It is of grave concern to me you are completely out of control in drink, despite having only recently been released.
“This violence is chilling. You simply walked up and stabbed him with some force.
“You were so easily able to concoct and sustain an account, making yourself to be the victim. There is a lack of insight and remorse.”
Clements was found guilty of wounding with intent following a trial. He was also convicted of three counts of having an offensive weapon.
He was jailed for nine years, with a four-year extended licence to follow, at Preston Crown Court on Monday.