North East Wales

Matthew Whelan sentenced for Queensferry shop stabbing

Matthew Whelan Image copyright North Wales Police
Image caption Whelan was sentenced as a dangerous offender

A man who stabbed a shopkeeper in a "cowardly and frenzied" attack has been jailed for 20 years.

Matthew Whelan, 30, was said to be high on drink and drugs when he beat and stabbed Imtiaz ul Haq at the Costcutter store in Queensferry, Flintshire on 8 December 2016.

Mold Crown Court heard Mr Haq, 59, was "lucky to be alive" after he suffered stab wounds to his throat and head.

Whelan admitted attempted murder and robbery.

The court was told he took a knife to the shop to commit robbery and when Mr Haq went to press the alarm button, he was determined to prevent him "at all costs".

Image copyright Google
Image caption The Costcutter was closed for three months after the attack and the community rallied around to help Mr Haq

Judge Rhys Rowlands said Whelan used a knife to inflict "the most terrible injuries".

Giving evidence, Mr Haq said he knew he only had a few minutes left until "he would be no more".

A surgeon told him he had never previously seen anyone survive such an injury.

Defence barrister Andrew Green said Whelan had little recollection of what happened because he had been binging on drink and drugs, but was "genuinely remorseful".

Whelan, who lived in the village of Mancot which is about a mile from Queensferry, was sentenced as a dangerous offender and must serve two thirds of his 20-year sentence before he can be considered for release.

Det Insp Mark Hughes from North Wales Police said: "This was a vicious and unprovoked attack on an innocent man in his place of work.

"I am pleased with the sentence which I hope will send out the message that violence will not be tolerated and those who commit such crimes can expect a lengthy sentence behind bars."

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